Baby eels seized in Enfield, Nova Scotia

Halifax –

Fisheries officers seized 113 kilograms of baby eels worth about $500,000 during a recent inspection outside Halifax to crack down on illegal fishing.

The Federal Fisheries Service said it also seized a truck and trailer and $15,792 in cash during an inspection Friday in Enfield, New South Wales.

The agency closed the baby eel fishery known as Elvar for 45 days on April 15 in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia after reports of poaching and violence among fishermen. Elvar is worth over $4,000 per kilo. They are caught at night and flown alive to Asia, where they are raised for food.

Authorities on Monday arrested 53 people since the shutdown and stole 123 kilograms of elvar, 28 fishing nets, 46 fish traps (known as phiquenets), four vehicles, a trailer, and more than $15,000 in cash. He said it was seized.

The number of arrests is up from 18 to 35 when first reported on Wednesday. The new figures also show that a further 13 dipnets have been seized since last week’s report, with a further 24 feiknets and an additional 116.5 kilograms of elvar seized.

Commercial fishers are calling for stronger closures, and on Friday New Brunswick’s fisheries minister, Margaret Johnson, called for immediate action against poaching.

Indigenous fishermen, on the other hand, claim they have a treaty right to fish for Elvar and are not subject to the federal shutdown.

Nova Scotia’s opposition Liberal Party on Monday accused the government of Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Tim Houston of ignoring the problem of illegal fishing in the state.

Liberal Party leader Zack Churchill said in a news release, “At this point in time, we need to see real action on file from the Houston government to protect the Elver fishery and get licensed fishermen back on the water. ” he said.

Last week, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Fisheries, Steve Craig, said he was concerned about the safety of the state’s rivers. Craig said states have licenses to buy and process elvar, which gives them the ability to crack down on illegal sales.

However, he said no fines or penalties have been imposed this year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on May 8, 2023.

For the latest Nova Scotia news, visit our dedicated state page.

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