Fisheries and Oceans Canada lays 66 halibut fishing charges in Nova Scotia

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The Fisheries and Oceans Canada has laid 66 charges related to the illegal possession and sale of harvested halibut following a 24-month major case investigation in the Sambro area of Nova Scotia.

On December 13, a total of 41 charges were laid at the Halifax Provincial Court for offences under the Fisheries Act and the Atlantic Fishery Regulations, 1985, the Fisheries and Oceans Canada said in a statement.

This is in addition to a total of 25 charges which were laid on January 7, 2021, the statement added.

In total, eight individuals and five companies have been charged in relation to this investigation, the Fisheries and Oceans Canada said, adding that the accused charged on December 13th are scheduled to appear in Halifax Provincial Court on January 19, 2022.

In addition to the charges, a number of goods were seized, including: a 50 foot longline fishing boat and related fishing gear, two vehicles, a 28-foot enclosed trailer, a compact track loader ,7,461 lbs of Atlantic Halibut valued at approximately $40,000 CAD, including 17 which were undersized, and $36,000 CAD cash.

Atlantic Halibut has become the most valuable species for groundfish licence holders in Nova Scotia over the past several years, and accounted for 54 per cent of the value of the groundfish fishery in the Maritimes Region in 2019, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Illegal possession and sale of fish undermines the effective management of Canada’s fisheries, and threatens the sustainability of local fishing resources. It can hurt the economic prospects of coastal communities, recreational and commercial industries, as well as diminish the traditional food sources of Indigenous people.

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