Tag Archives: elver fishery

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

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. more, >>click to read<< 14:16

Maritime elver fishery closure penalizes legal fishers, committee hears

The committee heard from the Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the RCMP, the Canadian Committee for a Sustainable Eel Fishery, and a legal elver fisherman with Shelburne Elver. “I lost my partner to cancer a few months ago,” Zachary Townsend, the elver fisherman, told the committee. “It’s been hard and unbearable at times. But to now be unemployed and facing an uncertain financial future is simply a challenge I didn’t need. “And I don’t share such sad news to vote your pity, but instead to remind you that each of us 1,100 [Maritime elver fishers] has a story and a unique set of circumstances now made worse by the minister.” The elver fishing season was cancelled in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick after Fisheries and Oceans Canada admitted it couldn’t control poaching or the export of baby eels, which sell for thousands of dollars a kilogram. more. >>click to read<< 16:42

Maine commercial fisheries jump $25M in value, with strong boat price for lobster

Commercial fishermen in Maine had a strong year in 2023. The value of the state’s fisheries increased by more than $25 million over 2022, for a total of $611.3 million at the dock, according to preliminary data released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources. The department attributed much of the increase to a strong boat price for lobster, Maine’s most valuable species last year. The price paid to fishermen went from $3.97 per pound in 2022 to $4.95 per pound in 2023, netting harvesters an additional $72 million compared to the previous year, for a total value in 2023 of $464.4 million. “The price Maine lobstermen received last year is a reflection of the continued strong demand for this iconic seafood,” said Patrick Keliher, the department’s commissioner. more, >>click to read<< 10:19

Put rules in writing to fix Maritime elver fishery’s enforcement problem, say businesses

Representatives of the $45-million Maritime elver fishery are calling on the federal government to implement enforceable regulations for moderate livelihood fishing by Indigenous people. They told a Senate committee in Ottawa Thursday the failure to define or regulate moderate livelihood rights by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is one reason for the uncontrolled harvest of baby eels on dozens of rivers in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. “Among these poachers are First Nations unwilling to work with DFO to access the fishery under a banner of moderate livelihood rights, backed by organized crime, specifically biker gangs and foreign smuggling networks. Our once peaceful industry has recently faced violent disruption,” said Genna Carey, a commercial licence holder speaking on behalf of the Canadian Committee for a Sustainable Eel Fishery, an industry group. more, >>click to read<< 09:29

Nova Scotia MP says he faced death threats as Maritime elver fishery descended into lawlessness

MPs in Ottawa heard “alarming” accounts Thursday of failed Canadian government efforts to thwart the black-market fishery for baby eels, or elvers, earlier this year. It included a claim that 25-tonnes of the tiny, translucent eels were flown out of Canada in illicit shipments, part of an organized crime to meet an “insatiable appetite” in China where they are grown for food. “I had many constituents whose properties were being defiled, destroyed as poachers, parked and utilized their things. I had single mothers threatened by people. I had death threats, as did my wife during this time,” said South Shore-St. Margarets Conservative MP Rick Perkins. more, >>click to read<< 06:50

DFO says it has enough resources to monitor Indigenous lobster fishing in Nova Scotia

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) says its enforcement branch will be on the water and adequately equipped to monitor compliance of First Nations lobster fisheries this summer. The pledge follows the chaotic fishery for baby eels this spring where there was widespread illegal activity by some Indigenous and non-Indigenous harvesters. DFO shut down the legal elver fishery, affecting both commercial licence holders and Indigenous groups with fishing plans approved by the department. But “poaching”, as federal Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray called it, continued. “I want to clarify they are two very different fisheries,” Maritimes region director of conservation and protection Tim Kerr told reporters Monday in a briefing on Indigenous rights-based lobster fisheries. >click to read< 08:35

DFO halts baby eel fishery in N.S., N.B for 45 days over escalating conflict

A news release from DFO on Saturday said after extensive monitoring it was determined that unreported removals made up a significant percentage of elver, or baby eel, landings. Fishery officers conducted extensive patrols from March 13 to April 10 to ensure compliance with regulations for the harvesting and sale of elvers, according to the release. The release states an increase in conflicts resulting in violence and threats risks the safety of harvesting and creates a threat to the management and control of the fishery. >click to read< 14:36

‘Alarm bells’ ring in N.S. lobster fishery decision after DFO’s move involving baby eels

A group representing more than 500 lobster fishermen in southwest Nova Scotia is raising concerns about Ottawa’s commitment to voluntary licence buyouts to increase Indigenous access to the fishery. Late last month, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans cancelled bargaining with commercial licence holders in the elver, or baby eel, fishery, claiming they wanted too much money to exit the business. DFO is now looking at an across the board commercial quota cut for elvers without compensation to make room for Mi’kmaw harvesters.  >click to read< 13:23

Amid escalating conflict, Ottawa orders temporary shutdown of Maritime elver fishery

The multimillion-dollar elver fishery in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick has been shut down amid escalating conflict between commercial and Indigenous harvesters, according to an industry representative. Riverside disputes and threats of violence during the spring elver fishery in 2020 rose to the point where local police intervention was required,,, The order says estimated elver removals were “far above the established catch limits in areas where fishing is occurring, which represents a threat to the conservation and protection of the species.” >click to read< 07:28

Coronavirus: Maine DMR To Open Elver Fishery After Implementing COVID-19 Protections

After ensuring protocols are in place to protect fishermen, dealers and communities from the spread of COVID-19, the Maine Department of Marine Resources will open the elver season at 8 a.m. on Monday, March 30, 2020. Under the authority established by Governor Janet Mills’ March 15 Civil Emergency Proclamation, licensed elver harvesters may fish for and sell the quota of another licensed harvester. Dealers have also agreed to limit transactions significantly by only buying 1 pound or more of elvers. >click to read< 12:12

Coronavirus: Maine DMR Temporarily Closes Elver Fishery

Due to public health concerns associated with COVID-19, the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) has announced the closure of Maine’s elver fishery, which had been scheduled to start Sunday, March 22, 2020. The closure, done through emergency rulemaking, will be for a minimum of two weeks and will be reassessed at that time. “The Coronavirus pandemic continues to impact Maine’s fisheries in ways we could not have imagined,” said Maine DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “Portions of the elver fishery make it impossible to follow social distancing recommendations, including maintaining 6 feet from other people to reduce the spread of this disease.” >click to read< 18:41

Elver Lottery to Allow New Entrants into Maine’s Lucrative Elver Fishery

Nine Maine residents will soon have a chance to join the state’s lucrative elver fishery. The Department of Marine Resources will hold a lottery, starting at noon Thursday, January 16, for the right to apply for an elver license. The lottery will be available through 4:30 pm February 21, providing lottery winners the chance to apply for a license prior to the upcoming season, which starts March 22 and runs through June 7. >click to read, details, links< 16:18

Illegal fishing drives early shutdown of elver fishery

The Department of Marine Resources announced Wednesday afternoon that it will shut down the elver fishery two weeks early “because of illegal sales which jeopardize the department’s ability to manage the fishery.” The department will use its emergency rulemaking authority to close the season. The elver fishing season will close at 6 a.m. on Thursday, May 24. The season was scheduled to end at noon on Thursday, June 7. Under the regulation, licensed harvesters may not fish for or take elvers after 6 a.m. on May 24, but may possess and sell elvers until noon on that day. Licensed dealers may purchase elvers until noon on May 24, and may possess legally purchased elvers until 6 a.m. on May 29. >click to read<08:34

Why Maine Is The Only State In The US With A ‘Significant’ Elver Fishery

If you’ve ever read a story in the news about elver fishing season, you’ve probably seen some variation of this line: “Maine’s the only state in the U.S. with a significant fishery for elvers.” Maybe you thought that’s because elvers don’t exist in large numbers outside of Maine — that would be a reasonable assumption. But the real reason is somewhat more complicated. Let’s start at the beginning, in the Sargasso Sea. Although it sounds romantic, the Sargasso Sea is actually just an area of the North Atlantic that’s full of Sargassum,,, >click to read<14:56

Eel of Fortune

Against a backdrop of competing cultural and commercial interests, Canadian regulators will soon spin the wheel on the future of the little-understood American eel. Lighting the hissing naphtha lamp mounted at the front of his metal canoe, Kerry Prosper prepares for a midsummer eel hunt on Nova Scotia’s Pomquet Harbour. It’s just past sunset, and the conditions are perfect, with warm air gently rolling off the bay and smoothing the water’s surface to glass. Prosper timed tonight’s trip with the new moon; eels get skittish when there’s too much light. Even lightning scares them into hiding. >click here to read< 10:54 

Maine Elver lottery gets under way Wednesday

For the first time in more than four years, a few new Maine residents will get a chance to participate in the elver fishery. On Wednesday, the Department of Marine Resources will open a lottery for at least seven new licenses to be issued for the 2018 elver fishery. The season begins on March 22. Each new license holder will be allotted a minimum of 4 pounds of the state’s aggregate elver quota. Based on the average price for the 2017 season that ended in June, that would be worth some $6,000. click here to read the story, details, and good luck! 17:18

Maine elver king to plead guilty to trafficking in poached elver eels

The man regarded as the founder of Maine’s elver fishery will plead guilty to violating federal law by trafficking in more than half a million dollars worth of poached baby eels. Bill Sheldon and federal prosecutors reached the agreement on Sunday. Sheldon has waived his right to appeal any sentence that includes a prison term of 30 months or less. Sheldon bought elvers, or baby eels, that he knew had been caught in New Jersey and Virginia, where the fishery is banned, prosecutors have said.,, Sheldon, 71, of Woolwich, is scheduled to appear in federal court in Portland at 12:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 5, to formally enter his guilty plea. click here to read the story 14:37

Baby eels are wriggling gold – Maine lawmakers look to ease restrictions on lucrative elver fishery

Fishermen are making money on sushi in Maine, the only state in the country with a significant baby eel fishery, and lawmakers are looking to make it possible for them to make more. A legislative committee recently approved a plan to extend the season by a week and allow weekend fishing, as opposed to the current limitation of five days per week. Elver fishermen have spoken in favor of the changes, which they said will allow them to make the most of the brief elver season, which is scheduled to begin March 22 and end May 31. Read the article here 18:58

Tribal official facing charges in NY vows to take elver debate beyond Maine

BDNFor the past several years, there has been a simmering dispute — sometimes boiling — between Maine state officials and the Passamaquoddy Tribe over the elver fishery. Read more here  11:04

Maine regulators’ deal with native tribes over elver fishery collapses at key stage

AUGUSTA — A tentative agreement between state regulators and Maine’s Native American tribes for the upcoming elver season collapsed Wednesday as state officials cited concerns in the Attorney General’s Office that such an accord would violate the state Constitution and be impossible to enforce. Read more@kennebecjournal  17:50

Maine regulators’ deal with native tribes over elver fishery dissolves

AUGUSTA — A tentative deal between state regulators and Maine’s Native American tribes over the upcoming elver season collapsed Wednesday, as state officials cited concerns by the Office of the Attorney General that such an accord would violate the state constitution and be impossible to enforce. Read more@portlandpress  19:54