Fishery officers make 39 arrests and seizures at rivers for unauthorized elver fishing

News release

March 25, 2024

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - Unauthorized fishing is a threat to the sustainability of fish stocks and undermines the livelihoods of law-abiding fish harvesters. The elver fishery is not open for 2024 in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, therefore any harvesting is unauthorized. Should anyone choose to fish for elver they will be subject to enforcement action as per the Fisheries Act and the Maritime Provinces Fishery Regulations.

Since March 6, 2024 in separate incidents across Southwest Nova Scotia, fishery officers arrested a total of 39 individuals who are under investigation for infractions of the Fisheries Act and Maritimes Provinces Fishery Regulations for the unauthorized harvest of elver. Across Nova Scotia, fishery officers also seized a total of 11 vehicles, 14 fyke nets, 78 dip nets, elver fishing equipment, eight weapons, and approximately 8.8 kg of elver, which were released live back into their river of origin.

Fishery officers are patrolling rivers, facilities and export points to deter and disrupt unauthorized elver harvest, sale and export from the region. Fishery officers also continue to work with other law enforcement agencies to combat the illegal harvest, sale, and export of elver as well as threats to public safety and criminal activity. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) reminds all harvesters that unauthorized fishing and violence will not be tolerated.

Anyone who has information on suspected unauthorized elver fishing, purchasing, or selling, is encouraged to call 1-800-565-1633 and dial option 6, or to contact their local Conservation and Protection detachment

Quick facts

  • DFO continues to work on the management changes necessary to provide a sustainable and orderly elver fishery for all harvesters. Until these measures are fully in place, the Minister has made the decision not to issue licences in 2024 and, as such, to not open the elver fishery.

  • Ongoing work related to regulating the possession and export of elver, changes to how the fishery is managed and the distribution of access to Indigenous harvesters are key to promoting compliance in this fishery. These changes will also support deterrence and prosecution for non-compliance in the courts.

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Jeremy Collard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Maritimes Region Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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