Tag Archives: Colin Sproul

‘The spot is beautiful’: Chief William Saulis crew remembered with memorial

Lori Phillips was at a loss. She didn’t want to go to just any random cemetery and place a headstone with her son Aaron’s name on it. She would have no relationship to that spot, she says. It would just be a stone on a piece of land. Her son, Aaron Cogswell, was one of six fishermen who lost their lives in the Dec. 15, 2020, sinking of the Chief William Saulis scallop dragger. The others were Charles Roberts, Daniel Forbes, Michael Drake, Eugene Francis, and Leonard Gabriel. Phillips needed a place for her and others to remember the crew. >click to read< 09:01

‘Expensive lobster is good for everyone in N.S.’: Winners and losers as prices of crustaceans skyrocket

Unless you buy it regularly, you may not have noticed lobster prices have quietly skyrocketed over the last couple of years. “Also, people had some more disposable income because the government programs, whether it be Canada, the U.S. or elsewhere, and I think everything has led to an uptick in prices, and the markets have remained strong.” Restaurant demand has now recovered, Berry says, but retail has remained strong and international demand has exploded. Wharf prices now are said to be nearly five times what they were during a slump at the start of the pandemic. Video, >click to read< 09:10

‘Our lobsters are gold plated now:’ Atlantic Canada lobster exports, prices soar

“Our lobsters are gold-plated now. Prices have been the highest in commercial history,” says Stewart Lamont, managing director of Tangier Lobster Co. Ltd, a live lobster exporter on Nova Scotia’s eastern shore. When the pandemic hit, export and restaurant industry demand plummeted. The shore price of lobster, the amount fishers get at the wharf from buyers, sunk as low as $4 a pound. “There was an initial glut of lobsters on the market at the start of the lockdown but then it spun back the other way,” says Colin Sproul, president of the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association. >click to read< 16:47

Mi’kmaw negotiator advocates for reduction in commercial catches to bolster treaty fishery

A top Mi’kmaw negotiator insisted commercial catches should be reduced anyway to ensure the treaty right is realized, while the president of a commercial fishermen’s association responded that enough has been done and the failure rests with Ottawa and First Nation leaders. “You heard from the chiefs, the buy-back program hasn’t been successful. So maybe at this point, Canada and DFO have to be more aggressive in taking back access for the Mi’kmaw people and Indigenous people,” Janice Maloney told the committee. Colin Sproul, president of the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliances, challenged the demand. Sproul represents 1,900 commercial fishermen. “It’s clearly unfair and un-Canadian to repossess access to the fishery from coastal communities without any consultation or compensation,” Sproul said. >click to read< 17:31

As lobster population booms off Canada, tensions rise between Indigenous and commercial fishermen

Under the close watch of federal officers on surrounding patrol vessels, Robert Sack navigated his old boat toward his clandestine traps in the cold waters that his people have fished for centuries, expecting to be arrested at any moment.,, Each trap had a special tag belonging to their band of the Indigenous Mi’kmaw people, who insist that a 269-year-old treaty grants them the right to fish when and how they want. But the government has rejected their assertion, and officers have seized their traps, confiscated their boats, and even arrested some of their fishermen. >click to read< 07>14

4 Mi’kmaw bands launch moderate livelihood fisheries with government approval

In a news release Wednesday, the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs said the treaty fisheries will happen in the Acadia, Annapolis Valley, Bear River and Glooscap First Nations. The group said the Kespukwitk District Netukulimk Livelihood Fisheries Plan will start Thursday, though not all communities will launch then. The Mi’kmaw chiefs said they are following the path set out by the Potlotek First Nation to fish and co-operate with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.,, The Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance, which represents commercial fishers, said its members support the deal. “We believe this is an important step in the right direction,,,” >click to read< 19:31

Sipekne’katik concerned about DFO punching holes in FSC lobsters

Fishery officers have been punching the small circular holes as part of a new compliance initiative to track lobsters that Fisheries and Oceans Canada say “will aid in protecting the integrity of the FSC fishery.” It’s illegal to sell lobster harvested under FSC tags. While DFO maintains that punching holes (like V-notch in Me.) in the lobsters’ tails doesn’t harm them, Shy Francis and Shannon Oliver-Sack said they’ve witnessed otherwise. “They said that they’re not doing any damage to these lobsters, but as soon as we pulled them up, it wasn’t long before they started dying on the boat and they were bleeding out,” >click to read< 08:48

Potlotek First Nation seeking injunction to prevent DFO from interfering with self-regulated fishery

Nova Scotia commercial fishermen will find out Friday whether they can intervene in a court case that tests the federal government’s authority to regulate a Mi’kmaw lobster fishery. The Potlotek First Nation is seeking an injunction to prevent the DFO from interfering with its self-regulated moderate livelihood lobster fishery. The Cape Breton band wants a court declaration that enforcement of the federal Fisheries Act infringes on its treaty right to earn a moderate living from fishing. Justice John Keith said he will issue a decision Friday afternoon. Colin Sproul, a spokesperson for the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance, “All I can say is that we’re really happy to have the opportunity to share our perspectives with the court, but I can’t really comment much more than that while there are the issues before the court,”  >click to read< 22:40

Tensions renew over “unauthorized” lobster fishery in Nova Scotia

Tension over a growing Indigenous lobster fishery remains high on the wharfs and bays of southwestern Nova Scotia, where Sipekne’katik First Nation plans to launch their second season of a self-regulated commercial fishery this week. A year ago, violence erupted after the Sipekne’katik fleet began fishing lobster outside the federally regulated season which begins in November in St. Marys Bay,,, Colin Sproul, “The feds knew about the potential for violence last year, and did nothing.  “There is a large-scale commercial fishery taking place right now, outside the law, no matter what the fisheries minister says. Our communities are seeing tractor-trailer loads of lobster leaving the area at night.” Mr. Sack said he’s worried more clashes will come if commercial fishermen don’t back down. >click to read< 07:51

Misinformation Tension – DFO moving fishery officers into area from across Nova Scotia and Canada

Federal fishery officers from across Canada are being moved to southwestern Nova Scotia as tensions rise again over an Indigenous lobster fishery underway in St. Marys Bay. The top enforcement officer at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans blames misinformation for aggravating the situation, asking both Indigenous and commercial fishermen and their supporters, to step back. “What I want to say to people is to give the fishery officers space to do their jobs. They are doing their jobs.,,, McCready said she is worried the dispute is becoming even more polarizing because of misinformation. One recent claim, she said, is that DFO officers “colluded” with commercial fishermen and cut lines on Indigenous-owned vessels. >click to read< 07:18

Crab traps seized by DFO during food fishery-Mi’kmaq fisher argues feds becoming more aggressive in seizures

Robert Syliboy and his crew dropped ten traps into the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean to harvest snow crab for a community feast.,, He said the crab traps were seized before he reached the shore. video, >click to read< Mi’kmaq fisher argues feds becoming more aggressive in seizures of Indigenous gear -“I told fisheries officers I was fishing under the chief and council’s authority, and all the fish was going for food,” Syliboy said. “They disregarded the treaty I was fishing under.” The Indigenous band has cited Supreme Court of Canada rulings, including the Sparrow case in 1990, as affirmations of the Mi’kmaq practice of harvesting fish for ceremonies, food and gatherings. >click to read< 08:42

F/V Chief William Saulis: Delaps Cove fisherman calls for raising the scallop dragger

“There’s a huge desire here amongst the communities on the bay shore to see the vessel raised, and for a number of reasons,” said Colin Sproul. Sproul, a fifth-generation fisherman, was working out of his family’s boat-building business at the Delaps Cove wharf on Jan. 17 as word started to spread that the missing vessel was located nearby. For just over a month, searchers scouring land, air and the sea scanned the quiet Bay of Fundy fishing communities in and around Annapolis County’s Delaps Cove.,, >click to read< 08:20

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

Indigenous Services Minister says Mi’kmaw fishermen in Nova Scotia being ‘let down’ by police

“We must also recognize that once again, as evidenced by the scenes of violence, Indigenous people have been let down by the police, those who are sworn to protect them,” he told a news conference in Ottawa this morning.,, Miller was joined by Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.,, The Sipekne’katik fishery operates outside the federally mandated commercial season. Commercial fishermen say they worry about its impact on lobster conservation, an argument Sack is trying to discredit. Colin Sproul,,, “The real gulf between Chief Sack’s position and mine is this: we respect and support Indigenous fishery access rights, which was ratified by the Marshall decision, but we respect the entire decision,” >click to read< 16:02

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

Nova Scotia Commercial fishermen turn focus to alleged buyer in Mi’kmaw lobster dispute

Commercial fishermen in southwestern Nova Scotia say they are taking a different approach on Monday in the dispute around the new self-regulated lobster fishery launched by Sipekne’katik First Nation. After several days of hauling in traps belonging to the Mi’kmaw fishers, the commercial fishermen now say they are turning their attention toward those who they believe are buying Mi’kmaw-harvested lobster. “It’s with the federal government and it’s with people from within our own community who are facilitating the buying of illegal fishery products.” A large crowd gathered in protest Monday morning in front of an alleged buyer’s home in the community of Comeauville. >click to read< 13:49

Nova Scotia Indigenous fishermen not backing down after traps removed

Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishermen have been locked in an ongoing dispute. Both sides say things were heated on the water on Sunday. “A Mi’kmaw fishermen went out to check his gear, and he was swarmed by commercial fishing vessels that were cutting him off and hauling their gear, stealing their traps – preventing our people from fishing,” says Sipekne’Katik First Nation Chief Michael Sack. “One of our boats was chased by a First Nations vessel, and they made an attempt to ram him and to board him,” says Sproul. “He immediately turned around and retreated here to Meteghan.” Sack says, while having their gear hauled up by commercial fishermen slows their operation a bit, they are in it for the long haul – with no plans to stop fishing. >video, click to read< 08:35

Fishermen say they are removing Indigenous lobster traps in western Nova Scotia

Non-Indigenous fishermen say they are in the process of removing lobster traps set by fishermen from the Sipekne’katik First Nation in waters off western Nova Scotia. Colin Sproul, of the Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association, says a large number of boats are in St. Marys Bay and intend to remove the traps and take them to the wharf in Meteghan, N.S. Sproul says the fishermen are taking action on what they believe is an illegal out-of-season fishery because the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has refused to do so. But the Sipekne’katik First Nation says its people have a treaty right to fish at any time. ,, A clarification was issued by the court, which said the treaty right was subject to federal regulation. >click to read< 13:15

Yelling, cursing, but no physical confrontation – Lobster dispute between Indigenous and commercial fishers boils over again

Another contentious chapter in a very long dispute over Indigenous fishing rights and federal laws on conservation has begun. Thursday saw a handful of Indigenous lobster boats head out of southwestern Nova Scotia to lay traps using ‘licences’ handed out by a local Mi’kmaw chief and not from the federal Fisheries and Oceans Canada department (DFO). Commercial lobstermen in the area staged protests this week saying the Mi’kmaw are fishing out of season and illegally. The fishery is closed as it’s molting season when lobsters renew their shells, and mating season. They say the law closing the fishery for several months is necessary for conservation purposes and fishing at this time is not sustainable. >click to read< 10:11

Discontent arrives at federal fisheries minister’s doorstep

Roger LeBlanc, on Thursday sporting a Maritime Fisherman’s Union cap and a jacket bearing the name of Beausoleil the Third, his 50-foot lobster boat ,is used to rising early. So, it was nothing for him to leave Meteghan at 6:30 a.m. to make the two-hour drive to Bridgewater. He didn’t want to miss the big rally in front of the office of Bernadette Jordan,,, . There was a time when LeBlanc hoped his grandson, Joseph, who is eight, could follow in the family business. Now he’s not so sure. “I’m here today,” he told me, “because I don’t see a future in our fishery.” >click to read< 08:11

Peaceful Protest: Hundreds of fishermen protest outside Fisheries and Oceans Minister Jordan’s office – Several hundred fishermen protested Thursday in Bridgewater, N.S., outside the constituency office of Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan, demanding her department stop out-of-season commercial lobster harvesting and sales commercial lobster harvesting and sales by First Nations in Nova Scotia. >click to read<

Peaceful Protest: Hundreds of fishermen protest outside Fisheries and Oceans Minister Jordan’s office

Several hundred fishermen protested Thursday in Bridgewater, N.S., outside the constituency office of Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan, demanding her department stop out-of-season commercial lobster harvesting and sales commercial lobster harvesting and sales by First Nations in Nova Scotia. “We are tired of being ignored over and over again,” organizer Colin Sproul of the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association told the crowd through a bullhorn from the back of a pickup truck. The protest is over what fishermen say is a blatant abuse of a First Nations communal lobster fishery underway in St. Marys Bay. >click to read< 17:06

Discontent arrives at federal fisheries minister’s doorstep – Roger LeBlanc, on Thursday sporting a Maritime Fisherman’s Union cap and a jacket bearing the name of Beausoleil the Third, his 50-foot lobster boat ,is used to rising early. He didn’t want to miss the big rally in front of the office of Bernadette Jordan,,, >click to read<

Fall lobster fishery now underway in Digby and rest of LFA 35 district

Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 35 opened at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 14 with the 93 full time and four part-time licence holders in the district heading to the fishing grounds in the upper Bay of Fundy. “When the season opens and the Digby fleet is coming through the gut,” looking from Delap’s Cove, “there’s a false sunset inside the Annapolis Basin,” said Colin Sproul, president of the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association. “There’s 60 or 70 boats coming out of there with four or five crabs’ lights each. You can see it right over the north mountains. It’s unbelievable. It’s like a sunset coming out of the basin at midnight.” >click to read< 18:40

Annapolis Royal mayor says tidal turbine shutdown won’t hurt town’s coffers

Last week the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans ordered NSP to shut down the iconic electrical power generating station after a review of data, especially in relation to reported fish kills over the past three decades. “From the very beginning the Town of Annapolis Royal has reached out to Fisheries and Oceans to get updates on where the review and the monitoring was,,, SHUT DOWN – He said what the community is learning is that a lot of those reports never found their way to the people who should have been taking that into consideration all these years. >click to read<20:06

Fishermen’s group grateful DFO lays charge stemming from lobster raid

A fishermen’s association is pleased to see the Department of Fisheries and Oceans lay a charge against the owner of lobster pound in southwest Nova Scotia who is accused of selling lobster caught under an Aboriginal communal fishing licence. Colin Sproul, vice-president of the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association, said he’s grateful DFO is taking action this summer. “Last summer, there were an incredible amount of lobsters poached in southwest Nova Scotia,” Sproul said on Thursday. “They weren’t First Nations people poaching these lobsters. They were just being poached by poachers under the guise of the FSC [food, social and ceremonial] and sold. >click to read<10:28

Job-related injuries create mounting danger for search and rescue workers

Submerged underwater more than 270 kilometres off the coast of Newfoundland, Sgt. Damien Robison almost ran out of air. He was tethered to a helicopter hovering over a nearby fishing boat that was in distress. He was in the water to help save five sealers, but was hit by a 12-metre wave that drove him below the surface. Chunks of ice in the water whipped by as Robison tried to puzzle out how he and the sealers would survive. That happened on March 5, 2017, on what Robison considers a good day on the job. It was good because he, his crew and the sealers all got home safe. After that rescue, Robison said he was pretty banged up.  He’s not alone. >click to read<

N.S. Fishermen call on government officials to crack down on lobster poaching

Bernie Berry glances across the wharf in Digby, N.S., as several fishing boats stop alongside for crews to offload their catch. As the season for this lobster fishing area — one of the most lucrative in Canada — prepares to close on the last day of May, it’s bringing with it a flurry of activity. Berry and others here hope the hustle and bustle of fishing isn’t replaced with negative activity come June 1. “Everyone knows what’s going on,” he said. “This kind of stuff has been going on for years.” >click to read<

Nova Scotia Lobster Fishermen Fed Up with Mis-Communication By DFO

Lobster fishermen in Southwestern, Nova Scotia are frustrated and disappointed with the lack of direction, mis-communication, and overall support from Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) regional management. Five separate fishermen’s associations joined forces in 2017 to form the Southwest Lobster Science Society (SWLSS) to work towards a partnership-based approach to fisheries management and conservation; a move which was touted to be a historic partnership between industry, environmental non-governmental organisations (ENGOs) and regulators. Yet, the newly formed partnership has struggled to move forward as the regulators (DFO) >click to read<11:34

Cape Sharp Tidal turbine removed from water – Fishermen, “For us, it’s a total vindication,,,”

The Cape Sharp Tidal turbine has been removed from the Minas Passage, but plans to conduct testing at another location farther down the Nova Scotia coast have been cancelled. The company had planned to move the turbine in April from near Parrsboro to St. Marys Bay to do some short-term hydrodynamic testing. But a mooring line became entangled in it, so the move was postponed. Cape Sharp spokesperson Stacey Pineau said the company now has no plans to resume the testing in St. Marys Bay. The proposed testing had drawn opposition from some fishermen, who said no environmental assessment had been carried out for that work.  Colin Sproul, of the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association, said the removal of the turbine is “a positive development” because the company has not been able to monitor the equipment since the turbine was disconnected from the transmission cable two months ago. click here to read the story 18:52

Proposal to move Bay of Fundy tidal turbine raises fishermen’s concerns

A fishermen’s group in the Bay of Fundy is worried about Cape Sharp Tidal Venture’s plan to temporarily move its tidal turbine from a designated testing area to a site where an environmental assessment has not been carried out. The Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association said the move endangers fish and violates the rules governing the development of tidal energy in the area.  The Cape Sharp Tidal Venture turbine is a joint project between Emera Inc. and OpenHydro. The turbine is currently in the Minas Passage near Parrsboro, N.S. Cape Sharp Tidal confirms that work is currently underway to remove the turbine. It wants to bring it to another area in the Bay of Fundy to do operational tests that would run about five days. “They have no approval to conduct that testing and more importantly is there will be no environmental-monitoring equipment at the site,” said Colin Sproul, spokesperson for the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association. click here to read the story 20:15

After months of outcry from fishermen, Cape Sharp Tidal prepares to deploy Bay of Fundy turbine

tidal turbinesAfter months of outcry from fishermen, a tidal power company has started preparations to deploy an energy-generating turbine in the Minas Basin near Parrsborro, N.S. The company has a week long window to install the turbine. On Saturday, Cape Sharp Tidal Ventures started launching the first of two planned turbines, intended to generate power from water passing through the Bay of Fundy inlet. The first was moved from Saint John to Parrsborro Friday night. By Saturday afternoon, the turbine was on its subsea base, and was waiting to be moved into the basin Passage by a barge and tugboat, the company said by email. It’s unclear when the installation will be finished, but the crews can only work on it during twice-daily slack tides. The project has been met with opposition led by the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association. The group believes the five-storey turbines will cause irreparable harm to marine life and fisheries.  “We’re extremely disappointed that the chance to get our accurate baseline science in the Minas Passage is forever lost in Nova Scotia,” association spokesman Colin Sproul said Saturday. Read the rest here 9:48