Man ‘assaulted with a pipe’ in dispute over baby eel fishing: N.S. RCMP

Click to play video: 'Global News at 6 Halifax: April 12'
Global News at 6 Halifax: April 12
'Global News at 6 Halifax' from April 12, 2023. – Apr 12, 2023

Two men are facing various weapons charges stemming from an altercation over elver fishing in Hubbards, N.S., according to RCMP.

Officers responded to the incident around 1 a.m. Thursday in the Shore Club Road area.

“RCMP officers learned that a man, who had been in a verbal altercation with a youth and a woman regarding elver fishing, was approached by a group of seven people,” police said in a release.

“The man was then assaulted with a pipe by one man in the group. A second man in the group brandished a knife and a conducted energy weapon during the assault.”

RCMP say the group of men fled the area in three vehicles, which were later stopped on St. Margarets Bay Road by officers.

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A 45-year-old man and a 48-year-old man were arrested.

“During a search of the vehicles a conducted energy weapon and an unsecured shotgun were seized by officers,” RCMP added.

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“A second loaded shotgun, which was discarded by vehicle occupants prior to being stopped was later located on the roadway.”

The 45-year-old is charged with careless use of a firearm, possession of a firearm knowing its possession is unauthorized, assault and assault with a weapon. Meanwhile, the 48-year-old man is facing charges of careless use of a firearm and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Both were released on conditions and are scheduled to appear in Halifax court on June 5.

In a later update, RCMP revealed the 41-year-old victim of the assault had allegedly verbally threatened the youth and woman “regarding elver fishing.” That man will be facing a charge of uttering threats.

Lucrative fishing industry

Elvers — also known as glass eels or baby eels — are sold to fish farms in Asia, where they are grown to market size.

It’s a lucrative fishing industry in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick that has been marred by controversy.

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Just Wednesday, a group of Conservative MPs called for stricter enforcement on elver poaching.

Clifford Small, the shadow minister for fisheries, oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, South Shore – St. Margaret’s MP Rick Perkins, as well as West Nova MP Chris d’Entremont, released a statement on the issue.

They alleged the fishery is “under attack from illegal commercial fishing” and said there were concerns over the weekend about “further and escalating violence.”

“The Southern and Western Shores of Nova Scotia are seeing unprecedented levels of elver poaching in this year’s short season of March to June,” the statement read.

“Reports from fishing communities are that there are unlicensed commercial harvesters throughout the region from not only Nova Scotia, but from Maine, Quebec, and New Brunswick. Illegal harvesting is happening on rivers that are both designated and not designated as licensed elver fishery rivers by DFO.”

There are eight commercial elver licences and three communal licences for First Nations in the Maritimes.

The MPs said illegal overfishing will reduce the sustainability of both baby and adult eels — and called for more enforcement in the area.

They added that the price of elvers in 2022 has reached $5,000 a kilogram.

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In 2020, disputes among fishermen prompted a temporary closure of the fishery.

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