Tag Archives: fishing rights

Livelihood lobster fishing cast adrift: How DFO’s inaction has history repeating itself

Its resources are in high demand by Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers alike, and for more than 20 years it has seen tensions between the two communities turn from boil to simmer, to boil again. Recently, it made headlines internationally. Tensions in the area erupted into violence and destruction after the Sipekne’katik First Nation launched its own, self-regulated fishery, outside of the commercial season, based on Mi’kmaq treaty rights. To Alex McDonald, one of the oldest still-fishing Indigenous lobster boat captains of the area, the chaos this year was nothing new. >click to read< 08:14

Brexit: What does the trade deal mean for fisheries? All the Fish related bits in the Brexit deal to read at your leisure: Articles 1-19

Contrary to many dire predictions, we finally have a Brexit trade deal, and with it an agreement on how the UK and EU will manage shared fisheries into the future. The fishing industry has experienced an unusually high profile since the Brexit referendum, but this reached dizzy heights over the last few months of 2020, as disagreements over fishing quotas and access were said to be the final barrier to a wider agreement. So now that the deal has been landed, how does the catch measure up? >click to read<  All the Fish related bits in the Brexit deal to read at your leisure: Articles 1-19. – Article FISH.1: Sovereign rights of coastal States exercised by the Parties. The Parties affirm that sovereign rights of coastal States exercised by the Parties for the purpose of exploring, exploiting,,, >click to read< 08:40

Brexit fishing outrage – UK Fishing Industry Disappointed By Brexit Deal

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said earlier on Thursday that Britain had agreed a “reasonable” five-and-half-year transition period with the EU over fisheries, longer than the three years it wanted but shorter than the 14 years the EU had originally asked for. “The industry will be bitterly disappointed that there is not more of definitive break,” Barrie Deas, NFFO, >click to read< 09:40

Brexit fishing outrage as UK will never be FULLY in control of its waters like Norway – Britain will never be fully in control of its waters like Norway, not even after the transition period agreed in the Brexit trade deal, it has emerged. Despite Downing Street calling a “mutual compromise”, it does seem Mr Johnson capitulated on one of the most contentious areas of the talks: fishing rights. >click to read<

UK fishermen mock ‘laughable’ EU demand to extend Common Fisheries Policy for a year

In a statement this morning, Ms MacDonald made clear EU vessels landed 10 times more fish from UK waters than UK vessels do from theirs. It comes EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier stressed a trade deal between the UK and European Union was still possible Talks were extended on Sunday after Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen agreed to continue the process despite major differences still remaining. For months, the talks have been deadlocked on the issues of fishing rights which have plagued fishing chiefs as well as state aid and the level playing field. >click to read< 11:59

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

Owner Operator/Fleet Separation Policies: Measures to prevent corporate takeover of Atlantic inshore fleets go into law

Wednesday, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans published amended Atlantic Fishery regulations that include the so-called owner-operator and fleet-separation policies. The owner-operator policy requires the eligible holder of a fishing licence to be the beneficiary of the licence, and fleet separation prevents processing companies and buyers from also holding fishing licences. “It’s a great day for the inshore fishery and we’re super happy with the results of this announcement,” >click to read<14:16 To read more about this, >click here<

Minister Jordan strengthens protections for inshore commercial fish harvesters on East Coast – Under the authorities granted by the modernized Fisheries Act, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has amended the Atlantic Fishery Regulations, 1985 and the Maritime Provinces Fishery Regulations to clarify the rules governing inshore licences and create new enforceable requirements. >click to read<

Efforts to Break Deadlock Continue, Kilmore Quay Outlines its Fears – Last-ditch post-Brexit trade talks to resume between EU, UK

As efforts continue to agree a final Brexit deal, two Wexford fishermen have outlined on RTÉ Radio Countrywide how devastating loss of access to British waters will be. “Brexit is going to affect every port and harbour where fishing is the lifeblood of communities,” Will Bates (43), a third-generation fisherman,, Video, >click to read< 12:57

Last-ditch post-Brexit trade talks to resume between EU, UK – European Union and British negotiators Sunday entered what is potentially the final attempt to strike a deal over future trade ties, even though “significant differences remain” on three essential points. With less than four weeks remaining before the Jan. 1 cutoff day, >click to read<

RCMP: Two charged following alleged incidents in St. Mary’s Bay during fisheries dispute

The charges were laid under the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations for unsafe activity in St. Mary’s Bay near Saulnierville. On Nov. 26, the RCMP charged 34-year-old Brandon Alexander Maloney, of Hants County, for unsafe operation of a vessel in relation to an incident that took place Sept. 20 in St. Mary’s Bay. Maloney was a fisheries manager for Sipekne’katik at the time of the alleged incident. He has since been elected to council and no longer holds that manager position. Also charged is 26-year-old Shaquest India Miller of Yarmouth County, for unsafe operation of a vessel, relating to an Oct. 12 incident, in St. Mary’s Bay. Both are scheduled to appear in Digby Provincial Court on Feb. 15.  >click to read< 17:23

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<

How DFO implementation of Marshall dealt a blow to both Indigenous self-governance and community-based fishing

It’s been two months since Sipekne’katik First Nation launched its own self-regulated lobster fishery off the Saulnierville wharf in Southwest Nova Scotia 21 years after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the Marshall decision, affirming the 1760-61 Treaty Rights of the Mi’kmaq to fish for a “moderate livelihood.” For their part, some non-Indigenous commercial fishers say they’re angry that conservation measures that have been adopted by the fishery, are not being followed by Indigenous fishers or enforced by DFO.,,, For the sake of the Mi’kmaq, the small inshore fishing communities, and the lobster stocks, let’s just hope that this time around the real Marshall decision finally gets implemented. >click here for this Big Read!< 12:42

Whitby’s trawlermen urge the government to stand firm in the ongoing Brexit fishing rights negotiations

Richard Brewer has fished out of Whitby for decades. In the last 22 years he has had his son by his side, also called Richard. During those years both say they have seen the destruction of the British fishing industry, which they now want back. Indeed Richard Jr. said “when I was at school this harbour had more than 20 trawlers, now there’s only one… ours. That can’t be right.” His father has always felt that the fishing industry was “sold down the river” when Britain first entered the EU and he blames the European quota system for ruining the sector. Video, >click to read< 14:52

DFO’s Jordan defends government actions during violence over Mi’kmaw fishery – Chiefs say DFO only looking out for non-Indigenous fishers

Despite admitting she hasn’t read the entire Marshall decision, Department of Fisheries (DFO) Minister Bernadette Jordan says her government is committed to implementing the Mi’kmaq Nation’s treaty right to catch and sell fish commercially in their traditional territories across the Maritimes, which the landmark ruling guarantees. >click to read<  Mi’kmaw chiefs say DFO only looking out for non-Indigenous fishers – Mi’kmaw chiefs appearing before a Parliamentary committee looking into fishing rights say the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is not upholding its treaty obligations and is only looking to appease non-Indigenous fishers rather than implementing Mi’kmaw rights. >click to read< 11:02

Fears in France for future of fishing industry after Brexit

Fishermen in northern France have enjoyed nearly 50 years of shared seas during Britain’s membership of the European Union. But a no-deal Brexit is threatening to sink the livelihoods of people in Boulogne-sur-Mer who have been fishing all their lives. “If we don’t have an agreement it will be catastrophic,” says fisherman Laurent Merlin. His haul of flatfish and crabs will be at risk if any deal between the UK and the EU does not guarantee access to the seas off Britain. >video, click to read< 19:45

RCPM say a 74-year-old man faces assault charges in violent clash at Nova Scotia lobster pound

The RCMP says Yvon Thibault, of Digby County, faces two counts of assault stemming from an incident in New Edinburgh, N.S., on Oct. 14. A pound that stored Indigenous-caught lobster was ransacked as part of two clashes that police have said involved roughly 200 people at wharves in New Edinburgh and in Middle West Pubnico, N.S. Another man was arrested last month for allegedly assaulting Sipekne’katik Chief Mike Sack, also on Oct. 14., but RCMP Sgt. Andrew Joyce says there were two other assault victims that day and Thibault is not accused of assaulting Sack. >click to read< 13:21

‘We won’: Clearwater Seafoods deal gives Mi’kmaq control of lucrative ocean stretch

Early this week, leaders of the Membertou and Miawpukek First Nations, both of which are Mi’kmaq communities, reached an agreement to buy Nova Scotia-based Clearwater Seafoods in a deal worth C$1bn (£580m). Heralded as the “single largest investment in the seafood industry by any Indigenous group in Canada”, the landmark deal comes at a critical moment for Indigenous communities in the region, as tensions remain high over their treatied fishing rights. >click to read< 15:48

South Australian reforms (catch shares) to put two-thirds of local commercial fishers out of business

A petition to address “loopholes” in the South Australian Government’s Marine Scalefish Fishery reforms has been launched by stakeholders who believe the changes will render the majority of local commercial fishers unviable. With just four days until the Government’s licence buyback scheme finishes, the Marine Fishers Association (MFA) has warned licences are at risk of being bought up by corporate traders,, “Unless loopholes are addressed, over two-thirds of our local commercial fishers will be unable to remain in business and South Australia risks losing its local fishing industry forever,” the MFA said. “This has already happened in other industry species; offshore and interstate investors already control over 65 percent of our rock lobster industry.” >click to read< 13:40

Lobster dispute is the culmination of government inaction

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “There remains no more important relationship to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous peoples.”,,, Imagine the thrilling new drama, Lobster Trap, inspired by real events and probably starring Colm Feore as the determined but nice RCMP inspector, uncovering plots at the Digby Legion and facing down Lefty, the powerful Nova Scotia lobster mobster whose left hand is twice as big as his right. There is the wise and wily Mi’kmaq chief. There is Margaret, the love interest, who manages the day shift at Tim Hortons while rocking her hairnet. The intrigue builds to a dangerous but delicious lobster boil. By Monte Solberg, >click to read< 12:33

In Search of Common Ground – An interview with Arthur Bull about the lobster fishery crisis in St. Mary’s Bay

For weeks now we’ve read stories about the violence and ugly confrontations taking place on the shores of St. Mary’s Bay,, To try to make some sense of the recent turmoil, I turned to Arthur Bull, who is currently an advisor to the World Forum of Fisher Peoples. Bull has also been involved in the commercial fishing sector as Coordinator of the Fundy Fixed Gear Council, and President of the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association. How do you view the conflict taking place in St. Mary’s Bay and what do you think might be the pressures and the driving forces behind it?,, There was an article by the philosopher Cornel West, and he was saying that in the current climate, you’re either a racist or you’re an anti-racist. So, on that point, and not to dwell on it, but my thinking is that there’s two things going on in St. Mary’s Bay. One is about the fisheries, and the other is about the racism,,, >click to read< 11:23

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

Envelope pushed in St. Marys Bay and Digby folk pushed into a corner – Susan Beaton

So now that the dust is starting to settle, righteous keyboard warriors can take a breather. So let’s try to give the people of Digby County and St. Marys Bay some consideration. Terrible things were said and done this month to the Sipekne’katik First Nation people and to those who supported them. No apologies here for the bad behaviour. But consider for a moment what it’s like for a small village, its lifeblood on the line, as a fight for treaty rights plays out on its doorstep.  Sipekne’katik wanted to push to the forefront the “moderate livelihood” debate, as many bands in other areas are doing as well. This tiny bay became a focus of that effort. What happened next is a bit more dubious. By Susan Beaton, >click to read< 09:23

A new current in the Nova Scotia lobster dispute – Local First Nation says Sipekne’katik did not consult them before launching

The ongoing dispute over Indigenous fishing rights in Nova Scotia has seen a new player emerge to add to the troubled waters. This time however, it might be seen as veiled criticism by one band of the actions of the other.,, The new player in the dispute is the local Bear River Mi’kmaw band who are actually the band closest to St Mary’s Bay in southwestern Nova Scotia. On the other hand, the Sipekne’katik who are at the heart of the dispute, are based over 250 km away in the central part of the province. >click to read< 14:30

Mi’kmaw band raises concerns about Sipekne’katik lobster fishery – In a letter sent to media and addressed to federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, Sipekne’katik Chief Mike Sack and other Indigenous leaders, Bear River Chief Carol Dee Potter said her community has fished St. Marys Bay “since time immemorial,” but they’ve recently been disrupted. “Over the last few weeks, our fishers have been forced out of this area due to the ongoing dispute,” >click to read<

Snow crab fishing rights: First Nations leaders say they’ll drop court action if government agrees to mediated settlement

The chiefs of Madawaska and Tobique First Nations say they have been seeking to exercise their treaty right to fish snow crab for 25 years, and point to volatile protests over lobster fishing as an example of the consequences of letting such disputes go unresolved. “Our Aboriginal right to engage in the fishery is not being recognized, the consequence of that is playing out before us in Nova Scotia,” Tobique Chief Ross Perley said in a news release Tuesday. >click to read< 12:04

Lorne Gunter: Here’s the real back-story to the Maritimes lobster dispute

A 1999 Supreme Court decision, the Marshall decision, affirmed a supposed ancient treaty right to hunt and fish out of season. The only limitation the court placed on this apparently pre-existing right was that First Nations could earn only a “moderate livelihood” with their out-of-season activities. The problem now, we are told over and over, is the failure of the federal government over the intervening 20 years to negotiate a fisheries management framework that defines, limits and regulates “moderate livelihood.”  Twenty-one years ago, I covered the Marshall case,,, The Marshall decision was an example of judicial bias and pre-conceived judgement. >click to read< 07:55

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

Brexit May Be Too Late to Save Britain’s Fishermen

Derek Reader coats the deck of his 40-foot fishing boat in salt-resistant paint ahead of another punishing winter hunting plaice, turbot and cod in the Irish Sea. He hopes it will be his last season. The U.K. has made regaining control of its fishing grounds a central demand in protracted and fraught talks on a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union. Yet the last trawlerman in the English port of Fleetwood, which once boasted 120 vessels like his, plans to sell the MFV Albion and quit the industry. “I voted for Brexit and I hope that we do take back our waters, but it’s too late for Fleetwood,” said Reader, 60. “If a new fishing deal helps me get a better price that’s great, but I can’t make ends,,, >click to read< 09:39

Catches, quotas and communities: the key fisheries issues at stake

Only a few hours after accession talks had begun on 30 June 1970, the UK government was told that a common fisheries policy had been agreed by the original six members of the community. It was a fait accompli. The UK had to hand over equal access to its waters and the catch quotas for each country were fixed on the basis of the recorded catches of the various national fleets between 1973 and 1978. It led to some very unpalatable outcomes, including those in the Channel, where the UK’s share of the cod quota stands at 9%, whereas France’s share is 84%. Today, EU fishing fleets catch 675,000 tonnes of fish in UK waters – 60% of the total caught in the UK sector. British fishermen catch just 88,000 tonnes, or 16% of the fish taken in EU waters. >click to read< 13:39

Commercial fishermen rally in Digby, Ex-fisheries minister calls for pause on out of season fishing and protests

Several hundred commercial fishermen held a rally Tuesday in Digby, N.S., as tensions continued to simmer over expanded Mi’kmaw lobster fishing in the area. There were calls for a pause on all out-of-season fishing by First Nations and an audit of commercial licences awarded to bands following the 1999 Marshall decision that recognized their right to fish for a moderate livelihood. Afterward, some fishermen gathered outside a lobster facility in New Edinburgh suspected of buying lobster harvested by Mi’kmaq fishermen when the season is closed. There was an RCMP presence at the rally, which was held on the eve of the Wednesday opening of commercial fishing in Lobster Fishing Area 35 in the Bay of Fundy. >click to read< 22:03

Brexit: Could a fight over British fish put a Brexit deal at risk? – Why the Brexit Talks Could Still Fail

For generations, boats have left this port to fish in the waters between France and England. Look across the water from Boulogne on a clear day and you can see Dover. It is just two and a half months until the end of the year, and the close of Britain’s transition period. If a Brexit trade deal has not been agreed by that point, Boulogne’s fishermen may face a truly profound change to their lives. Even if there is a deal, access to British coastal waters may be curtailed. If the UK leaves without an agreement, then the impact would probably be felt much more severely. >click to read< , Why the Brexit Talks Could Still Fail>click to read<,  Brexit: Fishing in Troubled Waters >click to read< 10:30

Trudeau government rejects lobster quota system for commercial inshore fleet

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan issued a statement Friday after meeting with commercial fishermen the day before. “As confirmed in that meeting, there is no plan to move to a quota system for the commercial lobster fishery and it is not being considered,” Jordan said. For decades, conservation in the billion-dollar commercial lobster fishery has been maintained by limiting the number of licence holders and traps. Stocks throughout Nova Scotia lobster fishing areas are healthy.  Three Mikmaw parliamentarians have proposed the creation of an optional Atlantic First Nations fisheries authority to administer an Indigenous fishery. >click to read< 19:13

Review Shows Irish Fishing Industry Buoyed By Exports But Brexit & Coronavirus Cast A Shadow

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s latest Annual Review and Outlook for the fisheries sector is a generally positive one, though tempered by the challenges of Brexit and the coronavirus. Published today, Thursday 8 October, the review cites CSO figures for 2019 which put the value of Irish seafood exports at €577 million with increases in the value of both salmon and mackerel, Ireland’s most valuable export catches. The coronavirus pandemic has seen similar challenges experienced across the fisheries and aquaculture sectors over the course of 2020 thus far. “Nonetheless, in spite of the difficulties, the fishing industry has continued to keep food in our shops and on our tables during this extraordinary time,” >click to read< 14:10