Tag Archives: Chief Mike Sack

The Nova Scotia lobster fishery fight – Year in Review

Sept. 17, the Sipekne’katik First Nation launched a self-regulated lobster fishery outside the federally-regulated commercial fishing season. On Sept. 18, two people are arrested on assault charges following confrontations between Mi’kmaq and non-Indigenous fishers on the wharf of the self-regulated fishery in Weymouth, N.S. This was the beginning of a showdown that would spark solidarity rallies across the country. “We all have Indigenous blood. We always worked side by side. The Acadians are not racist. We know they (Indigenous fishers) have rights, but we can’t respect what’s happening in St. Mary’s Bay.  Video, >click to read< 08:29

Sipekne’katik lobster fishery closed for the season

Over the course of the season, Sack said Sipekne’katik harvesters caught and sold close to 55,000 kilograms of lobster. Selling their catches had been a problem for Mi’kmaw harvesters earlier in their season because provincial regulations prohibit buyers from purchasing anything caught outside a commercial fishing license. But in the end, Sack said everything his community caught was sold — although he wouldn’t say exactly where. >click to read< 08:05

21 arrested in N.S. lobster conflict; Mounties release photos of persons of interest

Nova Scotia RCMP have arrested 21 people so far in relation to criminal activity by a large group at a southwestern, N.S. lobster pound on Oct. 13, and are asking the public for help in continuing to identify persons of interest. RCMP confirmed that about 200 people were present at two incidents Oct. 13 outside a facility in Middle West Pubnico, N.S., which was storing lobster caught by members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation,,, On Friday, the Mounties issued a brief statement with photos, saying they were seeking public’s help in identifying suspects who engaged in criminal activity. Video, >click to read< 15:58

Sipekne’katik First Nation Chief frustrated, ceases lobster fishery talks with feds

In a letter sent Wednesday to Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, Sipekne’katik Chief Mike Sack says the department has neither the “desire nor the ability” to recognize and implement the Mi’kmaq band’s constitutionally protected treaty right to fish. Sack expresses frustration with the nation-to-nation discussions and says Ottawa has tried to lump his band’s treaty rights in with regulation of commercial licenses. A spokesperson in the minister’s office was not immediately available for comment. >click to read< 14:31

‘The Crown’s honour is at stake’:Indigenous chief makes appeal to Justin Trudeau as fisheries deal rejected

A first draft memorandum of understanding was sent by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to the Sipekne’katik last week,,, The proposal, which was received with optimism, included the capacity for the Sipekne’katik to legally sell its moderate livelihood catch, which has been problematic for the band. But according to Chief Mike Sack, the government offer fell far short of what he had expected, In an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday, Sack wrote: “Although we had tempered our response of this first draft as a potentially groundbreaking and historical understanding, Sipekne’katik remains very disappointed in the draft documents’ intent and content.” “The Crown’s honour is at stake, >click to read< 18:47

‘There’s Death Threats’: Indigenous Fishers Nervous as Nova Scotia’s Commercial Lobster Season Opens

Some Mi’kmaq have fished alongside commercial fishermen on these wharves for years but this year, after violence erupted in the past few months, they’re now divided largely by race—the white Acadian fishermen at Meteghan, and the Mi’kmaq at Saulnierville, with each flying their own flags. A court injunction, sought by the Mi’kmaq, has further separated the two groups, in an effort to prevent any more aggression and harassment towards band members on the Saulnierville wharf and on the water as they continue to fish until Dec. 17, the end of their moderate livelihood plan. The commercial inshore lobster fishery, expected to launch later this week, runs until the end of May. >click to read< 20:37

Replenishment, or Misguided Retribution?! Trouble brewing ahead of start to Nova Scotia fall lobster season

The recent seizure of lobster traps in St. Marys Bay by federal officials could lead to big trouble on the water. Chief Mike Sack of the Sipekne’katik First Nation says Indigenous fishers whose traps were taken last weekend and on Wednesday will replace them by taking the traps of commercial fishers when the fall season opens Monday in southwestern Nova Scotia, a huge event known as Dumping Day. “Dumping Day is going to be about 400,000 traps that our people get to pick from to replenish our traps,” Sack said in an interview, referring to the start of Canada’s largest and most lucrative lobster fishery. >video, click to read< 08:02

Tension could rise again on Monday in lobster dispute on east coast – The ongoing dispute between Indigenous and non-native lobster fishers could get tense once again. Last weekend, and on Wednesday, agents from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) seized hundreds of Indigenous lobster traps, ostensibly because the traps were set before the season opens on Monday.. >click to read<

DFO officers seize 500 lobster traps in St. Marys Bay

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says enforcement officers are going back to St. Marys Bay in southwestern Nova Scotia where they seized hundreds of lobster traps on the weekend in an area used by Mi’kmaw fishermen. Todd Somerville, DFO’s director of conservation and protection for the Maritimes, said 500 traps were seized for a variety of violations. “Untagged gear, improperly configured gear, gear that hadn’t been tended in a while. There was gear where dead lobsters were found. Over 6,000 lobsters, live lobsters, were returned,,, >click to read< 18:17

Sipekne’katik says their livelihood fishery has brought in 100,000 pounds of lobster

Sipekne’katik First Nation said Wednesday they have caught just under 100,000 pounds of lobster since the fishery launched Sept.17, according to their compliance officers. That’s about 45 metric tonnes. “The amount of lobster we took out so far is equivalent to one [commercial] licence,” said Chief Mike Sack. He said the suggestion there has been any over-fishing through the Mi’kmaw treaty fishery is not only inaccurate, but it is fueling discussions that will lead to added marginalization and conflict against the Mi’kmaq. Commercial fishermen have objected to the fishery on conservation grounds, since it is outside the regular lobster season. >click to read< 14:53

Mi’kmaq Chief involved in Nova Scotia lobster fishery dispute re-elected

It will be a third term for Chief Mike Sack in the community of Sipekne’katik, formerly known as Indian Brook, located about 65 kilometres north of Halifax. The returning officer of the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq says Sack won more than 72 per cent of the vote. Heather Knockwood and Kim Paul were the other candidates for chief in the community of about 2,770 people. Sack gained national prominence after he officially opened a “moderate livelihood’’ fishery for his community on Sept. 17 in Saulnierville, N.S. >click to read< 09:27

Sipekne’katik Chief Threatening To Disrupt Commercial Lobster Fishery This Year

“If they can interfere with our fisheries, we’re going to start rallying up and blocking all of their wharves,”,, Sack says that on October 30, he spoke with a regional director of fisheries management for DFO. The director, according to Sack, informed the Chief that any untagged Mi’kmaq lobster traps would be confiscated. Commercial fishermen are claiming, however, that the Band has increased its fishing in the lobster breeding ground in recent days. On October 29, in a letter to Bernadette Jordan, several fishermen’s groups claimed the federal government is doing nothing to stop the unregulated fishery. >click to read< 11:36

Sipekne’katik backs out of commercial lobster season citing fears over safety

The decision followed an emergency meeting Friday with fishermen working in the band’s commercial fishery. “The consensus is that they don’t want to fish in the upcoming season due to concerns of safety. There is also the concern of not being able to sell our lobster,” said Chief Mike Sack. “As of right now, our people aren’t comfortable taking that big risk and especially risking their life for that.”Sipekne’katik’s decision means band members won’t fish the nine lobster licences Sipekne’katik holds in Lobster Fishing Area 34 when the season opens next month. >click to read< 21:02

Chief Mike Sack: The face and voice of Mi’kmaq lobster fishing that is met with ire and violence

Monday is election day, when the Sipekne’katik band will elect a chief to lead the province’s second-largest Mi’kmaq community for the next two years. Chief Mike Sack is on his way to Digby. In his pickup, skirting along Highway 101, it is two and a half hours of picturesque driving from his band’s reserve in central Nova Scotia to communities on the province’s southwestern coast, where lobsters grow plump and delicious in St. Marys Bay. While he is well-known in his community, most in Canada only recently noticed Sack, through the news and, for a certain demographic, online memes, both heroic and horrific, sparked by alarming events as the lobster dispute turned violent. >click to read< 18:50

For Acadian fisherman, early Mi’kmaq fishery in N.S. bay can ‘never’ be respected

As he stands calmly splicing anchor rope, Roger LeBlanc describes the anxiety, anger and suspicion over a Mi’kmaq lobster fishery that is coursing through his small Acadian community. The threat perceived by LeBlanc, 61, is the launch of a lobster fishery by Sipekne’katik First Nation in September,,, In the weeks that followed, Indigenous traps were cut, a boat burned, vehicles were destroyed, and one lobster pound that handles Indigenous catch was damaged while another was burned down. The actions by groups of up to 200 people have drawn condemnation from across party lines in Parliament. >click to read< 13:40

He had hoped to help end Nova Scotia fishery tensions, but now this union leader feels he just has to step down

It’s an ebb tide; in the afternoon sun in the Acadian fishing village of Meteghan, the Salt Shaker hangs low on the wharf. It seems appropriate. Comeau’s resignation has scuttled one of the few potential bright spots in a tumultuous week in southwestern Nova Scotia’s lobster fishery conflict; the hope that talks between him and Sipekne’katik chief, Mike Sack, might be the first steps towards a solution to the battle between Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers.“ Now, the planned talks are dead, and the conflict that has torn the fishing community apart has no end in sight. >click to read< 08:18

 N.S. fishermen’s union head quits, says lobster dispute is ‘too much of a toll’ on his family – Joel Comeau says it’s no longer safe for him to be the president of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union Local 9 in Nova Scotia. Comeau stepped down Friday ahead of a planned meeting with Sipekne’katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack to discuss the increasingly tense dispute between commercial and Mi’kmaw lobster fishermen in the province. >click to read< 10:44

Trudeau defends federal response as threats escalate over Mi’kmaw fishery in Nova Scotia

“We are expecting the RCMP and police services to do their jobs and keep people safe,” Trudeau said.  On Thursday, the chief of the Sipekne’katik First Nation urged Trudeau to step in and make sure those involved in the violence are prosecuted. The vice-president of a fishermen’s union in Nova Scotia has stepped down, citing fears for his family’s safety as threats from some non-Indigenous fishermen opposed to a self-regulated Mi’kmaw lobster fishery continue to escalate. Joel Comeau, a former member of the Local 9 of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, was supposed to meet with Sack on Friday morning but abruptly cancelled the meeting. Comeau said he’s received “a lot of flak from my people and a lot of intimidation” over his willingness to work with Sack to find a way forward. “This community is out of hand. This community feels unsafe,” said Comeau. >click to read< 16:00

The lobster catch in St. Marys Bay is down, but there’s little consensus on why

DFO has released data showing a decrease in the amount of lobster caught between 2016 and 2018 in St. Marys Bay, the body of water at the centre of a disputed Mi’kmaw fishery in southwest Nova Scotia. Lobster landings in St. Marys Bay were 1,691 metric tonnes in the 2016-2017 season with a record high value of $25 million, according to data released to CBC News by the department. Two years later, landings were down 46 per cent by weight and 32 per cent by value. >click to read< 08:19

Potlotek First Nation celebrates Treaty Day by launching its own rights-based lobster fishery

Potlotek First Nation in Cape Breton marked Treaty Day this year by launching its own Mi’kmaq-regulated rights-based lobster fishery. The celebration in St. Peters Bay on Thursday drew about 100 people and comes just two weeks after another Mi’kmaw community began operating a similar fishery in southwest Nova Scotia. Wilbert Marshall, chief of Potlotek, said launching a fishery on Treaty Day underscores the importance of the Peace and Friendship Treaties that were signed many years ago and still matter today.  >click to read< 19:05

Mi’kmaw parliamentarians call for new body to deal with conflict over lobster fishery – Three Mi’kmaw parliamentarians are proposing a new approach to the conflict over the lobster fishery in Atlantic Canada that would bypass the system in use at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. >click to read<