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FOPO Committee Report

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Closing of the 2024 Elver Fishing Season

That, regarding Minister Diane Lebouthillier decision to close the legal elver harvest of 2024, the committee finds that:

(a) banning legal fishing does not stop poaching;

(b) since the closure of the elver fishery, criminal activity and violence has not decreased as evidenced by the witnesses who have come forward to the committee to detail continued violence and lawlessness in their communities, including arson, assault, and attempted murder;

(c) according to witnesses, closing the elver fishery has resulted in 1100 job losses, harming rural Nova Scotian communities and the fishing industry as a whole, when Canadians are struggling with a cost-of-living crisis created by this government;

(d) that current DFO and RCMP enforcement efforts allocated by the Minister remain insufficient and have not put a halt to the violence or poaching;

(e) that, as part of a reopening, a crisis unit be set up beforehand made up of the various intervention units concerned, border agency, coast guard, public security agency, scientific representation and legal fishermen, to act not only in observation and surveillance but also to act in protection and intervention in the event of force majeure to promote a resumption of fishing that is adequate, egalitarian and ensuring increased safety; and,

given these findings, the committee therefore agrees to report these findings to the House, and call on the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and Canadian Coast Guard to do the work required across jurisdictions to make sure that public safety is maintained, First Nations moderate livelihood rights are protected, and a plan is developed for the long-term sustainability of the elver fishery, and to immediately re-open the elver fishery.

A copy of the relevant Minutes of Proceedings (Meeting No. 108) is tabled.