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Image: Submitted/Fisheries and Oceans Canada

30 arrests since closure of lucrative baby eel fishery

By Steve MacArthur May 5, 2023 | 12:21 PM

Nova Scotia’s fisheries minister is raising concerns over the illegal poaching of baby eels (elvers) in our province.

Since the 45-day closure began on April 15, fishery officers have made 30 arrests and seized about 6.53 kilograms of elvers, 15 dip nets, 27 fyke nets, a vehicle and a variety of other fishing and storage gear in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Speaking with reporters on Thursday, Steve Craig said he is working closely with the feds on the issue.

“The idea that we need a fishery that is stable and that the fisheries are protected and those who have licenses are protected is very important.” said Craig. “When you get to the point that you have illegal fishing activity that decreases the stability of the stock potentially. Moreso, when it harms citizens and there is violence happening, it is very concerning.

The Elver fishery in the Maritimes Region dates back to the early 1980s and the eels are worth up to $5,000 a kilo. They are sold in Asia, where they grown and used for food.

The closure was put in place because of poaching, threats and violence on the water.

The current elver fishery occurs in southwest New Brunswick, the Upper Bay of Fundy, southwest Nova Scotia, along the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, and in portions of Cape Breton.

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