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Exclusive: DFO raid facility, seize 3 tonnes of lobster as part of probe into unlicenced fishing

The lobster fishermen community of Nova Scotia has been torn apart in recent months with disputes between aboriginal and non-aboriginal fishermen.
The lobster fishermen community of Nova Scotia has been torn apart in recent months with disputes between aboriginal and non-aboriginal fishermen. Ross Lord

Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has intercepted 3 metric tonnes of Nova Scotia lobsters on Monday, shortly before they were reportedly scheduled to be shipped to Asia.

The DFO only released the information after Global News attempted to confirm information they’d received from other sources.

“An investigation is currently underway into the sale of fish not harvested under a commercial licence,” said a DFO representative.

“A facility and individuals were targeted…and a seizure of lobsters was made.”

It’s all part of the fallout from commercial fisherman protesting their Indigenous counterparts, claiming they are breaking the law by selling large amounts of lobster for profit before the commercial season even begins — and depleting the stocks of Canada’s most lucrative fishery.

READ MORE: ‘This needs to stop’: Indigenous fisherman speaks out after boat torched in N.S.

Ray Wagner, a lobster fisherman, ties up his boat
Ray Wagner, a lobster fisherman, ties up his boat. Ross Lord

Rick Wagner was one of the fishermen who joined in the protest.

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“I think there’s been a lot of lobsters taken out of this small bay, this summer,” he said.

However, Wagner believes he’s paid a steep price, his boat’s engine is now useless; sabotaged after someone put salt in the boat’s engine.

“It’s not good when you gotta be looking over your shoulder all the time, just because somebody is trying to make an illegal living,” he said.

WATCH: N.S. lobster fishermen protesting outside DFO offices against illegal poaching

Click to play video: 'N.S. lobster fishermen protesting outside DFO offices against illegal poaching' N.S. lobster fishermen protesting outside DFO offices against illegal poaching
N.S. lobster fishermen protesting outside DFO offices against illegal poaching – Sep 14, 2017

Two other boats have been set on fire in recent weeks and two men face charges after allegedly threatening Indigenous fishermen.

Sources have told Global News that the seized lobsters were caught by Indigenous fishermen before being brought ashore to a processing plant and then to the airport for shipment.

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The manager of the plant involved in the shipment insists there have been no charges and says the plant continues to operate normally.

DFO has refused to comment on potential charges.

The largest section of the lobster fishery is set to open in a few weeks and tensions continue to run high.

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