DFO says it will prosecute Burnt Church lobster buyers

CBC News Online
Friday, October 06, 2000

FREDERICTON, N.B. - The provincial government says it's going to help Ottawa crack down on the native lobster fishery in Burnt Church. It's going to join an investigation by federal fisheries officers looking at who's been buying lobster from the Mi'kmaq band at Burnt Church.


"It's a question of any illegally harvested fish"
The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans says the catch is illegal and it will prosecute whoever bought lobster from the reserve.

Now the New Brunswick government says it will help Ottawa by punishing fish plants that bought the lobster.

Paul Robichaud, the provincial fisheries minister, says he has the power to suspend the licence of any fish plant convicted under the federal act of possessing illegal fish.

Ottawa regulates the lobster fishery but it's the province that licenses processing plants.

DFO believes that some fish plants in New Brunswick have bought lobster from Burnt Church. But Robichaud says he wants to go after plants that buy illegal fish from anyone not just from natives. "It's a question of any illegally harvested fish," he says. "It doesn't matter if it's lobster or shrimp or snow crab and it doesn't matter if it comes from natives or poachers. Illegal fish is illegal fish."

DFO says its investigation will pick up steam now that confrontations on the water have ended at Burnt Church.

So far, no one has been charged yet with buying lobster from the reserve.