Fisheries officers seize 100 crates of lobster from seafood distributor

The lobster, valued at more than $50,000, is believed to have been harvested under an Indigenous food, social and ceremonial licence.

Lobster believed to be harvested under Indigenous food, social, ceremonial licence

A spokesperson with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans says the lobster is believed to have been harvested under a food, social and ceremonial licence. (Kayla Hounsell/CBC)

Inspectors with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans seized more than $50,000 worth of lobster from a seafood distributor in New Edinburgh, N.S., earlier this month.

The department says fisheries officers from the Meteghan detachment inspected the fish distribution facility on Aug. 9 and seized more than 100 crates of lobster.

A spokesperson for the department said the officers believed the lobsters were caught and retained under an Indigenous food, social and ceremonial fisheries licence.  

"The lobsters were seized based on the belief that they were purchased and sold without authorization, in violation of the fisheries general regulations," wrote Debbie Buott-Matheson in an email.

"At this time, the minister of Fisheries [and] Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard has not authorized the sale of FSC [food, social and ceremonial] harvested fish."

The department wouldn't identify the business since the matter is now under investigation.

Lobster seized from restaurant

The seizure is one of several recently conducted by fisheries officers in southwestern Nova Scotia.

On Monday, the department tweeted about seizing lobster meat from two restaurants in Yarmouth after the businesses couldn't prove to inspectors that the seafood was legally purchased. 

Officers also seized lobster gear after identifying violations including the illegal use of bait and untagged or invalid tags on traps. 

The department tweeted that vessel patrols seized 47 of the 128 traps they inspected, and released 774 lobsters in those seized traps back into the ocean. 

On Tuesday, DFO said the Aug. 9 investigation at the New Edinburgh distributor is "not directly" related to the recent restaurant and lobster trap inspections in the southwestern part of the province.

"An investigation is now underway in both these matters," spokesperson Mike Campbell said in a statement. "There are a number of investigative steps that have to be followed by investigating officers before concluding or commenting on ongoing files. As such, no further details will be provided at this time." 

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