04/02/2015 10:15 EDT | Updated 06/02/2015 05:59 EDT

Sturgeon poaching closes night fishing on Fraser, Pitt and Harrison Rivers

In an effort to stop poaching of white sturgeon, B.C.'s environment ministry closed night fishing on the Fraser River, Harrison River and Pitt River as of April 1.

"Under the cover of darkness is when we believe that the white sturgeon population is being impacted by the illegal retention," B.C. Conservation Sergeant Todd Hunter told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

White sturgeon — which are on the provincial red list as an "imperiled" species — are poached for their roe, which are highly valued, and turned into caviar. Fish are also taken live to be bred, Hunter said.

"Definitely an impact to the population by taking the caviar eggs. Those large fish that are going to be reproducing are the ones that we're going to rely on for the future generations."

Anyone caught fishing at night could face a violation ticket or court-imposed penalties. Hunter said the first night of the closure went well and no one was apprehended.

"We think that everyone's pretty good about wanting to protect them. If they're anglers they believe that it's very important for us to do this."

To hear the full interview with Todd Hunter, listen to the audio labelled: Sturgeon poaching closes night fishing.