Major seizure of elver at Toronto airport

News release

May 17, 2024 

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - On the evening of May 15, 2024, fishery officers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), as well as border services officers from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), seized approximately 109 kilograms of unauthorized elvers at Toronto Pearson International Airport. The elvers were destined to be shipped overseas.

The seized elvers are estimated to be worth between $400,000 and $500,000.

An investigation into this matter, for violations under the Fisheries Act, is now underway.

This seizure is the result of a coordinated operation involving officers from DFO’s Conservation & Protection Directorate and National Fisheries Intelligence Service, in cooperation with the CBSA Commercial Operations District and intelligence teams.

On March 11, DFO announced that the elver fishery would not open this year due to conservation and safety concerns. Any individual caught fishing for elvers will face enforcement actions under the Fisheries Act and the Maritime Provinces Fishery Regulations. Any acts of violence or harassment towards fishery officers will not be tolerated and will be reported to the appropriate police force.

The public is encouraged to report any suspected unauthorized elver fishing, purchasing, or selling by calling 1-800-565-1633 and selecting option 6, or by contacting their local Conservation and Protection detachment.

Additional multimedia

Fishery officers from DFO's Conservation and Protection Directorate show a sample of the 109 kilograms of elvers seized during the operation at the Toronto International Airport.
Fishery officers from DFO's Conservation and Protection Directorate open a carton as part of a major seizure of elvers at the Toronto International Airport.


"The magnitude of this elver seizure is an important development. It reflects all the work done by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, but also the team effort of a wide range of agencies and departments involved across government. Once again, our message is crystal clear: do not travel to Nova Scotia to illegally fish or export elvers this year, enforcement officers will be waiting for you."

The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard

Quick facts

  • The National Fisheries Intelligence Service (NFIS) unit was established in 2012 to help support intelligence-led investigation.

  • For the latest seizure statistics, visit Canada Border Services Agency.

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

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Media Relations
Canada Border Services Agency

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