Sambro, Nova Scotia: Halibut lawsuits end in new fines

A fishing case involving illegal halibut landings in Nova Scotia ended this week with fines imposed in a Halifax courtroom.

On Tuesday, provincial court judge Ann Marie Simmons fined Clarke Henneberry $2,000 and ALS Fisheries $9,000.

Multiple prosecutions followed a 24-month investigation that included secret dumps in the middle of the night and a dramatic 2020 raid by fisheries officers in Sambro, N.S.

In total, five individuals and three companies were found guilty of various fisheries violations, including failing to have catches checked by a dockside monitor and providing inaccurate catch information in order to land more halibut than permitted.

The case resulted in four trials and involved illegal offloading of halibut at Sambro by the fishing vessel Ivy Lew during four voyages between May 2019 and June 2020.

Charges were filed in December 2021.

17 undersized halibut seized in connection with charges of illegal possession and sale of halibut caught in Sambro, Nova Scotia. 17 undersized halibut seized in connection with charges of illegal possession and sale of halibut caught in Sambro, Nova Scotia.

17 undersized halibut seized in connection with charges of illegal possession and sale of halibut caught in Sambro, Nova Scotia.

Seventeen undersized halibut were seized by federal fisheries officers as part of the investigation. (CNW Group/Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Maritimes Region)

A total of $260,000 in fines and license suspensions were imposed on two people, including the boat’s captain, Casey Hennebery.

Fisheries officers also seized the 15-metre longline fishing vessel Ivy Lew, fishing equipment, two vehicles, an 8.5-metre enclosed trailer, a compact track loader, 7,461 pounds of halibut valued at $40,000, 17 of which were undersized, and $36,000 in cash.

Halibut is Nova Scotia’s most lucrative groundfish, worth $60 million in 2022.

Fishing has become a priority for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ enforcement efforts in recent years.

In a statement, the ministry said illegal landings undermine effective fisheries management and threaten the sustainability of a shared resource.

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