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Image: Submitted/Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Industry not happy with elver season shut down

By Kevin Northup Mar 13, 2024 | 11:47 AM

Lots of criticism over the feds’ decision to shut down the lucrative elver fishery.

Fisheries minister Diane Lebouthillier announced the closure due to concerns over poaching and violence on the rivers.

The president of the Canadian Committee for a Sustainable Eel Fishery says the minister has chosen to make life easier for poachers and harder for honest fishers.

Genna Carey says it’s the third season in five years that has been partially or fully closed, and there is no additional enforcement from DFO.

Carey adds the minister didn’t have face-to-face consultations with the industry before making her decision, and wishes she was able to look the harvesters in the eye.

In her decision, Lebouthillier says they’re working on new regulations, but they wouldn’t have been ready in time for this season.

Provincial fisheries minister Kent Smith wrote to Lebouthillier in February, saying there will be significant negative economic and social impacts to the commercial elver industry.

Smith says his department has called on the feds for increased enforcement to curtail poaching, but he says that has not happened.