Fishery officers seize over $250K worth of elvers in Dartmouth bust

Via DFO:

On May 31, fishery officers made a notable seizure at a ground transport facility in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, intercepting a truck carrying 60 kilograms of elver. The estimated value of the seized elver ranges between $250,000 and $350,000. The shipment was destined for Toronto, where it was to be transported overseas. This action led to the arrest of two individuals, marking a significant enforcement move in the ongoing efforts to combat unauthorized elver fishing.

The elver industry is particularly lucrative due to the high demand for these baby eels in Asian markets, where they are considered a delicacy and are often farmed to maturity for use in dishes such as unagi (grilled eel). Elvers can fetch up to $5,000 per kilogram, making them a prime target for illegal fishing operations.

The operation was part of a broader effort by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to address illegal elver fishing in the region. Since the elver fishery is closed for 2024 in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to protect the species and maintain sustainable fish stocks, any harvesting is considered unauthorized. This year alone, there have been multiple incidents, resulting in numerous arrests and the seizure of significant quantities of elver and fishing equipment.

DFO continues to urge the public to report any suspected unauthorized elver fishing, purchasing, or selling by calling 1-800-565-1633 and selecting option 6, or by contacting local Conservation and Protection.

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