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Sambro, N.S., halibut prosecutions end with more fines

A surveillance image taken during the DFO investigation into a halibut operation in Sambro, N.S., and entered into evidence by the Crown during trial.  (Court exhibit - image credit)
A surveillance image taken during the DFO investigation into a halibut operation in Sambro, N.S., and entered into evidence by the Crown during trial. (Court exhibit - image credit)

A fisheries case involving illegal halibut landings in Nova Scotia ended this week with fines handed down in a Halifax courtroom.

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

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

In all, five individuals and three businesses have been convicted of various fishery offences, including failing to have catch verified by a dockside monitor and providing inaccurate catch information in order to land more halibut than allowed.

The case spawned four trials and involved illegal offloads of halibut in Sambro by the fishing vessel Ivy Lew during four trips between May 2019 and June 2020.

Charges were laid in December 2021.

17 undersized halibut seized in relation to charges for illegal possession and sale of harvested halibut in Sambro, Nova Scotia.
17 undersized halibut seized in relation to charges for illegal possession and sale of harvested halibut 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 were levied along with licence suspensions against two people, including the boat's captain, Casey Hennebery.

Fisheries officers also seized the 15-metre longline fishing boat Ivy Lew, fishing gear, two vehicles, an 8½-metre enclosed trailer, a compact track loader, 7,461 pounds of halibut valued at $40,000, including 17 which were undersized, and $36,000 in cash.

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

The fishery has been a focus of Department of Fisheries and Oceans enforcement in recent years.

In a statement, the department said illegal landings undermine effective management of the fishery and threatens the sustainability of a shared resource.

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