U.S. boat caught trapping lobster in Canadian waters, DFO says
Bay of Fundy fishermen's group says 200 lobster traps were seized
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans intercepted a vessel fishing illegally in Canadian waters and reported it to U.S. authorities, an official said Friday.
The incident occurred Thursday near the coastal border of New Brunswick and Maine.
"Our fishery officers intercepted a U.S. lobster fishing vessel that was fishing illegally within our Canadian fisheries waters about midday Oct. 19," said Todd Somerville, area chief for conservation and protection in southwest New Brunswick.
"We intercepted the vessel. At that point fishery officers board the vessel and then they initiate their investigation. Because it was a U.S. vessel, we do reach out to U.S. law enforcement. … They also responded."
Won't discuss problem
He did not want to discuss other details, including how long the U.S. vessel is suspected of being in Canadian waters or whether the department had received a complaint from New Brunswick fishermen.
Somerville said he was "not aware of a way American boats could legally fish in Canadian waters."
The only way he could think of such an operation being legal would be for a boat to have a Canadian fishing licence, which this one did not have.
Somerville said "various amounts of poaching or illegal action occurs and that's as far as I'm willing to elaborate.
He would not say how frequent incidents like this are.
The U.S. authorities are responsible for pressing charges in such a case.
Related Facebook post
The Fundy North Fishermen's Association made a Facebook post Friday morning that appeared to be related to the incident.
The post reads: "I spoke with DFO this morning. They pulled about 200 traps yesterday and are back out there today. One US fisherman was apprehended in the act of fishing in Canadian waters."
The Fundy North Fishermen's Association did not respond to a request for comment.
Somerville said he was not free to comment on the post and would not confirm the number of traps seized.
The post further reads: "DFO apologized that it took 1 month longer than they had hoped. They need a boat that can haul traps! Fundy North will again be requesting a permanent boat for SWNB fisheries officers."