Lengthy investigation leads to 66 halibut fishing charges in Nova Scotia
December 14, 2021
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - As a result of a 24-month major case investigation in the Sambro area of Nova Scotia, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has laid 66 charges related to the illegal possession and sale of harvested halibut.
On December 13, a total of 41 charges were laid at the Halifax Provincial Court for offences under the Fisheries Act and the Atlantic Fishery Regulations, 1985. This is in addition to a total of 25 charges which were laid on January 7, 2021.
In total, eight individuals and five companies have been charged in relation to this investigation. The accused charged on December 13th are scheduled to appear in Halifax Provincial Court on January 19, 2022.
In addition to the charges, a number of goods were seized, including: a 50 foot longline fishing boat and related fishing gear, two vehicles, a 28-foot enclosed trailer, a compact track loader ,7,461 lbs of Atlantic Halibut valued at approximately $40,000 CAD, including 17 which were undersized, and $36,000 CAD cash.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has a mandate to protect and conserve marine resources and to prosecute offenders under the Fisheries Act. It ensures and promotes compliance with the Act and other laws and regulations through a combination of land, air, and sea patrols, as well as education and awareness activities.
DFO is committed to protecting and safeguarding the long-term health and productivity of Canada’s fisheries resources, and enforcing the regulations related to the harvesting, buying, selling and/or possession of fish.
Illegal possession and sale of fish undermines the effective management of Canada's fisheries, and threatens the sustainability of local fishing resources. It can hurt the economic prospects of coastal communities, recreational and commercial industries, as well as diminish the traditional food sources of Indigenous people.
Atlantic Halibut has become the most valuable species for groundfish licence holders in Nova Scotia over the past several years, and accounted for 54 per cent of the value of the groundfish fishery in the Maritimes Region in 2019.
We encourage anyone who has information on suspected illegal fishing, purchasing, or selling, to report it by contacting your local DFO Conservation and Protection detachment or Crime Stoppers. All information provided to fishery officers is reviewed, and actions are undertaken to investigate as appropriate.
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