DFO announces two fines for illegal sale of N.S. First Nations lobster in N.B.

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DFO has fined two parties $25,000 for buying and selling First Nations lobster. (Ben Zisserson - image credit)
DFO has fined two parties $25,000 for buying and selling First Nations lobster. (Ben Zisserson - image credit)

A second Maritime lobster pound has been implicated for illegally buying and selling First Nations lobster, resulting in a conviction and fine.

On May 31, Frederic Arseneau and East Coast Ocean Products were each fined $25,000 in Moncton provincial court.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) recently disclosed the conviction.

The latest case dates back to 2019 when lobster caught in St. Mary's Bay, N.S., under an Indigenous Food, Social and Ceremonial licence was traced to a pound in Shediac, N.B., according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Food, Social and Ceremonial licence conditions prohibit the sale of the catch.

DFO said the case was the result of an investigation led by fishery officers based at its Meteghan, N.S., detachment following an inspection of a lobster processing facility in Shediac.

Another case

In March, two Nova Scotia men were convicted and fined a total of $55,000 for illegally buying and selling lobster harvested for Food, Social and Ceremonial use.

Those charges stemmed from a September 2018 inspection of a lobster pound in Shag Harbour, N.S.

After that conviction the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture said it would review "the matter for any violation of provincial regulations."

The province issues the buyers' licenses required to operate pounds.

CBC
CBC

"We expect licence holders to operate within the law at all times and take these issues seriously. It is important that we take the time to gather all of the facts. We don't have a timeline for a decision on the matter at this point," Fisheries Minister Steve Craig said in a statement to CBC News.

At the time of both cases DFO was under pressure from commercial lobster fishermen in southwestern Nova Scotia to stop illegal sales of lobster caught under the food and ceremonial license, which was seen by many as cover for a growing black market fishery.

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