Disputes among fishermen prompt temporary closure of baby eel fishery

Bernadette Jordan

The lucrative baby eel fishery in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick has been temporarily shut down because of disputes between fishermen and the possibility of overfishing.

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan has issued a ministerial order putting a 45-day hold on fishing for eels less than 10 centimetres in length.

The order, dated April 27, says an unexpected rise of people fishing for eels outside the commercial fishery created the chance of exceeding catch limits.

It also notes there were disputes between fishermen that required DFO officials and police to intervene.

The order says there were threats of violence, putting the safety of fishermen at risk and constituting a threat to the management and control of the fishery.

Baby eels, or elvers, are sold to fish farms in Asia where they are grown to market size.