St. George, N.B. — The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is carrying out an investigation after a U.S. vessel was intercepted fishing illegally in Canadian waters.

The vessel was intercepted about midday on Oct. 19 in Passamaquoddy Bay in waters between Saint Andrews and Deer Island, says area chief of conservation and protection for southwest New Brunswick, Todd Somerville.

He says fishery officers boarded the vessel and lobsters were found on board. Typically, when officers determine it has been an unlawful catch, he says the lobsters are returned to the water and this is what happened. Somerville said hundreds of lobster traps have also been seized.

“We contacted the U.S. authorities and they also responded to the occurrence. We will continue our investigation and, based on the results, will decide where charges are laid.

“It could be the Canadian or American justice system. There are different agreements in place between our two countries. We will get our investigation done as thoroughly and speedily as possible and the department decision makers will decide how it happens.”

He says those on board the vessel were cooperative and the U.S. authorities monitored the vessel as it made its way safely back into U.S. waters and into a U.S. port.

“There is poaching and illegal activity that occurs on a pretty regular basis. We had the opportunity and resources last week to help address this situation.”