May 22nd, 2024

Five people from Maine arrested in Nova Scotia for illegally fishing baby eels

By The Canadian Press on April 24, 2024.

Baby eels, also known as elvers, swim in a tank after being caught in the Penobscot River, Saturday, May 15, 2021, in Brewer, Maine. The federal Fisheries Department says five people from Maine were arrested in southwestern Nova Scotia last weekend for illegally fishing for baby eels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty

HALIFAX – The federal Fisheries Department says five people from Maine were arrested in southwestern Nova Scotia last weekend for illegally fishing for baby eels.

In a news release, the department says the arrests occurred April 20 and in the early hours of April 21 in the Meteghan area of Digby County.

The release didn’t say whether they would face charges, but it notes that fisheries officers seized nearly 3.5 kilograms of elvers – also known as baby eels – a vehicle, three dip nets and one fyke net.

During the same patrol, officers seized another 13 kilograms of elvers and other fishing gear at the same area of Digby County, but the department says the seizure was not related to the people who were arrested.

The officers returned nearly 16.5 kilograms of elvers to their river of origin, and the department says that since March 8 the Fisheries Department has arrested 95 people, seized 21 vehicles, 73.6 kilograms of elvers, 175 dip nets and 58 fyke nets.

Federal Fisheries Minister Diane Lebouthillier closed the 2024 fishery on March 11, saying past confrontations on the water indicated an “immediate threat” to public safety and management of the fishery.

The tiny translucent elvers are usually sold live to aquaculture operations in China and Japan where they are grown for food. In 2022 prices reached as high as $5,000 per kilogram.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 24, 2024.

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