An investigation by conservation officers with the Department of Natural Resources, coined Operation WAK, has resulted in the seizure of 700 kilograms (1,540 pounds) of moose meat, moose parts, cash and various butcher shop equipment.
"Conservation officers from around the province worked on this file, and they deserve a great deal of credit for their professionalism and commitment," said Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup.
About 50 violations under the Fish and Wildlife Act have been compiled against several individuals and businesses. The investigation continues and more charges are possible.
"These recent seizures are the culmination of years of intelligence followed by an 18-month special investigation by conservation officers in eastern New Brunswick," said Neil Jacobson, acting provincial conservation manager with the Department of Natural Resources. "One of our primary roles as conservation officers is to identify and target the illegal killing of moose or any other wildlife that undermines the province's conservation efforts."
Among the items seized were several freezers containing moose meat, 28 moose racks and meat-cutting equipment from two butcher shops. Charges to be recommended to the Crown include the illegal sale of moose meat, illegal possession of moose meat, offering the sale of hunting rights over any land, possession of loaded firearms in vehicles and discharging firearms from vehicles.
Jacobson warned that the purchase of wild meat could pose public health risks. Aside from being illegal, poaching involves dangerous hunting practices that can create an unnecessary public safety risk to unsuspecting bystanders enjoying the outdoors, he said.
The department takes into consideration poaching when determining the number of licences available in the annual moose draw.
Anyone with information on illegal hunting or fishing or the sale of illegally obtained wildlife is asked to contact their local department office or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.