Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Target Poachers with Thermal Imaging Technology
Director of Communications
Department of Justice
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Newly acquired thermal imaging camera technology specifically designed for covert law enforcement activities was instrumental in the recent arrests of poachers by fish and wildlife enforcement officers with the Department of Justice on the west coast of the province.
On July 7, fish and wildlife enforcement officers arrested a 20-year-old man following an investigation of illegal netting at the mouth of Little Barachios Brook in the Bay St. George area. Among other items, officers seized an illegal gill net and 13 Atlantic salmon weighing approximately 65 pounds. The individual faces a number of charges under the federal Fisheries Act.
In addition on July 8, fish and wildlife enforcement officers arrested a 41-year-old man from the town of Stephenville Crossing for illegally netting salmon in coastal waters. The individual was known to officers and has previous convictions for illegally netting Atlantic salmon. Officers seized a cooler, an illegal gill net and two Atlantic salmon. The individual faces a number of charges under the federalFisheries Act.
Thermal imaging cameras used in these arrests are important new tools in combating serious and organized poaching activity. Poachers often use the cover of darkness to set illegal nets in rivers and coastal waters. These new devices allow officers to see clearly in total darkness, fog and through foliage and brush. These cameras differ from standard night vision technology in that they pick up heat signatures rather than dispersed light. The cameras allow officers to see the heat signatures of individuals and recently operated machinery such as vehicles or outboard motors during surveillance operations.
The recent closure of salmon rivers due to low water conditions makes salmon particularly vulnerable to poaching. The public is reminded that they can anonymously report suspected poaching activity to officers 24 hours a day, toll-free at 1-877-820-0999 or online at www.stoppoaching.ca.