Indigenous lobster boats head from the harbour in Saulnierville, N.S. on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. Tensions remain high over an Indigenous-led lobster fishery that has been the source of conflict with non-Indigenous fishermen. THE CANADIAN PRESS /Andrew Vaughan

Indigenous lobster boats head from the harbour in Saulnierville, N.S. on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. Tensions remain high over an Indigenous-led lobster fishery that has been the source of conflict with non-Indigenous fishermen. THE CANADIAN PRESS /Andrew Vaughan

Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq chief casts doubt on Ottawa’s bid to quell violence over lobster

Chief says he expressed his concerns to federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett

The First Nations chief behind a small but controversial fishing fleet trapping Nova Scotia lobster outside the regulated season is raising concerns about Ottawa’s latest bid to quell violent protests by non-Indigenous agitators.

Chief Mike Sack of the Sipekne’katik First Nation issued a brief statement today casting doubt on Ottawa’s decision Friday to appoint a “special representative” to mediate talks between Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers in southwestern Nova Scotia.

Sack says he and others he’s talked to are worried that Allister Surette, a university president and former politician from the area, lacks experience with Indigenous issues and may not have the capacity to be an neutral, third-party troubleshooter.

The chief says he expressed his concerns to federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett on Saturday.

He says Bennett confirmed that the talks led by Surette will have no impact on the nation-to-nation negotiations between the band and the federal government regarding the First Nation’s proposal to continue with a self-regulated lobster enterprise.

Most of the Mi’kmaq First Nations in Nova Scotia have argued they have a constitutionally protected right to earn a moderate livelihood from fishing where and when they want because the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that treaty right in a 1999 ruling that cited peace treaties signed by the Crown in the 1760s.

However, many non-Indigenous people involved in the province’s $1-billion lobster industry have argued the court’s decision also affirmed Ottawa’s right to regulate the industry to ensure conservation of the lobster stocks. And they have raised concerns that a growing “moderate livelihood” fishery could deplete the resource.

READ MORE: Parallels drawn between police action over B.C. pipeline fights, Mi’kmaq fishers

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

fishingIndigenous

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

Mailboxes at 108 Mile Ranch were broken into on the weekend. (Kelly Sinoski photo- 100 Mile Free Press).
Police report: Mailboxes broken into at several locations across region

100 Mile RCMP respond to 77 calls for service from Jan. 13-19

Chief Leah Stump communicated the state of emergency news through a Facebook video. (Video Screenshot)
Nazko First Nation tightens borders due to COVID-19

Chief Leah Stump said in a video they will be putting up checkpoints before entering the reserve

Canim Lake Band remains in lockdown. (Martina Dopf photo - 100 Mile Free Press).
Canim Lake Band loses Elder due to COVID-19

Community is devastated, Chief Helen Henderson says.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with an influenza outbreak amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
Two more deaths at Vernon care home

Noric House case numbers remain steady, but death toll rises

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Most Read