Tag Archives: Nova Scotia

23 people charged in lobster pound ransacking in southwest N.S.

Yarmouth provincial court will be cramped on March 29. That’s when 23 people are due to appear on charges related to the ransacking of a Middle West Pubnico lobster pound on Oct. 13. The pound held lobster caught by the self-regulated Sipekne’katik moderate livelihood fishery in St. Mary’s Bay. Mi’kmaq fisherman Jason Marr barricaded himself in the pound with the catch he’d been unloading there during the night of Oct. 13 after a large crowd of commercial fishermen arrived. >click to read< 13:06

Nova Scotia Supreme Court approves sale of Clearwater Seafoods

It is the final step in a deal described as “the single largest investment in the seafood industry by any Indigenous group in Canada.” On Thursday, shareholders voted in favour of the sale to a partnership of Premium Brands of British Columbia and a coalition of Mi’kmaw First Nations led by the Membertou band of Nova Scotia and the Miawpukek in Newfoundland and Labrador. Court approval for the mega deal took 20 minutes. >click to read< 18:40

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

Coast guard vessel with platform to help with search for missing scallop dragger

The Canadian Coast Guard has deployed a vessel with a platform to help search the Bay of Fundy for a scallop dragger that went missing two weeks ago. The coast guard vessel left Dartmouth on Wednesday and should arrive in Digby, N.S., by Friday, according to a release from the Nova Scotia RCMP. From there, the RCMP’s underwater recovery team will be able to perform sonar exploration in the area in search of the Chief William Saulis. The fishing vessel with six men on board sent out an emergency beacon near Delaps Cove, N.S., in the early morning of Dec. 15. >click to read< 19:09

RCMP locate debris ‘consistent’ with section of missing F/V Chief William Saulis

Nova Scotia RCMP have located debris that appears to be “consistent” with a small section of the scallop fishing vessel that has been lost in the Bay of Fundy for two weeks. In a news release, RCMP said that their air services team searched roughly 100 kilometres of coastline from Digby Gut to Harbourville by helicopter on Monday.  During that search, they located debris that is “consistent with a small section of the upper portion of the Chief William Saulis.” >click to read< 14:14

Neglected safety gear on fishing boats endanger fishermen – If it’s not maintained, it’s likely not going to work

“It’s one thing to go out and buy all this for your vessel, but if it’s not maintained it’s likely not going to work for you when you need it,” said Matthew Duffy, a safety adviser with the association. Duffy has seen survival suits full of holes, rotted ropes, and life rings tied so tightly they couldn’t be used.     “We did a man-overboard drill where we got the crew involved and they got their immersion suits out,” said Duffy. “One crew member opened it up and there was a squirrels’ nest in one of them, you know, chewed right through the suit,,, >click to read< 07:40

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

Crew of five abandons vessel and makes it to shore

A fishing vessel went aground in rough surf off Yarmouth Bar early on Dec. 15. Lieutenant commander Brian Owens, senior public affairs officer with Joint Task Force (Atlantic) and Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) Halifax, says the centre received a call at 6:12 a.m. “The vessel went aground from all indications and five persons onboard abandoned the vessel, but thankfully, made it ashore,” he said. >click to read< 15:15

Lobster pound owner fined $100K for offence stemming from DFO sting operation in 2017

In handing down the sentence, provincial court judge Tim Landry said the offence was “intentional illegal act” and rejected Zheng’s claim that it was an accident. “The accused in his defence at trial made mention that mistakes were made either by incompetent employees or language barriers,” Landry said in provincial court in Digby, N.S. “The evidence in my view overwhelmingly pointed to the fact that this was an intentional act. That fact in my view is an aggravating feature. The potential for lucrative profits obviously existed for the accused in this case. “The penalty cannot simply be the cost of doing business. The penalty has to be significant.” >click to read< 18:58

RCMP Investigates – Pictou Landing chief says lobster fisher was shot at on the water

RCMP in Pictou County, N.S. have one person in custody after reports of shots fired Sunday in the area of Pictou Landing First Nation. RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Lisa Croteau said RCMP responded to the incident around 5:30 p.m. She said she could not provide an exact location of the incident, only that it was “in the Pictou Landing area.” Croteau said no injuries have been reported and a police investigation is ongoing. >click to read< 06:30

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

Delay, Delay, Delay. No Dec. 7 start to LFA 34 commercial lobster season off southwestern N.S.

While there had been a weather window for a possible start to the LFA 34 commercial lobster season later in the day on Monday, Dec. 7, it’s been decided that window wasn’t ideal enough to get things underway, and so the season start has seen another delay. The plan as of Monday morning was now for a conference call at 4 p.m. to discuss a possible Tuesday, Dec. 8 opening. A time of 4 a.m. for a Tuesday opening is being looked at it. The season had originally been slated to start on Nov. 30. >click to read< 12:09

Lobster fishermen call for ‘dumping day’ changes

Repeated delays to the start of the lobster fishing season in part of Nova Scotia’s most lucrative fishery have some harvesters calling for a change to the rules to prevent the money-burning setback in years ahead. The launch of the season, known as dumping day, happens on the last Monday in November for Lobster Fishing Areas 33 and 34, two large fishing regions that wrap around the southwest coast of the province.,, Lobster fisherman Michael Larkin said he’d like to see some flexibility added to the rules around dumping day,,, >click to read< 07:56

Dec. 7 dumping day on standby off southwestern N.S. – Captains and crews should be prepared to leave

The start of the LFA 34 commercial lobster season off southwestern N.S. remained on standby on Sunday evening, Dec. 6, following a late afternoon industry conference call. But there was a weather window being eyed for Monday, Dec. 7 for the season to possibly start anytime after 10 a.m.,, “If the call (Monday) morning gives the okay, there will be a delayed start, anytime after 10 a.m. Captains and crews should be prepared to leave late morning at the earliest on Monday, Dec. 7.” photos, >click to read< 16:52

Southwestern N.S. lobster season start still delayed again by winds on Dec. 3 and 4th

Just over an hour before boats in LFA 34 were to leave their wharves for the start of the season on Thursday came word that the wind has delayed the opening of the lobster season yet again. And later in the day the situation had still not changed. Heading into Thursday evening there was still no opening set for the season which, under good weather conditions, would have opened on Nov. 30. An emergency conference call took place at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday morning, Dec. 3, given a change in the weather from Wednesday’s forecast. The season was supposed to open at 9 a.m. >click to read< 19:27

‘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

Dec. 3, 09:00 start confirmed for LFA 34 lobster fishery

After days of delay because of the weather, the LFA 34 commercial fishery off southwestern N.S. will get underway Thursday, Dec. 3. It’ll be a later start with boats leaving the wharves at 9 a.m. as opposed to the traditional 6 a.m. start. It was decided to take advantage of daylight for the season start. The season opener was confirmed during a Wednesday morning industry conference call with other stakeholders. >click to read< 14:24

LFA 34 lobster fishery season sees ongoing weather delay – Thursday will be the earliest

It’s another postponement for the start of the LFA commercial lobster fishery off southwestern Nova Scotia. However a marine forecast of increasing winds during the day on Nov. 30, coupled with a gale warning for Tuesday triggered a delay to the start of the season. An industry conference call was held Tuesday morning, Dec. 1, to consider a new start date. Although Environment Canada’s weather forecast for Wednesday calls for reduced winds, the sea states will still be three to four metres so port reps voted ‘no’ to setting gear on Wednesday. photos, >click to read< 14:06

Weather stretches out delay in opening lucrative southwestern N.S. lobster fishery – Lex Brukovskiy, president of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union Local 9, said today that he’s been informed rough waters means Thursday will be the earliest possible opening day in Lobster Fishing Area 34. >Video, 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

Systemic racism: another view

A recent column by Dr. Jim Guy on the lobster fishery question (“Systemic racism plagues Nova Scotia’s fishery,”) is most thought provoking. Dr. Guy posits that at the core of this dispute lies systemic racism, luridly comparing the situation to the segregationist Jim Crow south of America’s past. I do not agree with his position, instead seeing the dispute as one between fishers contesting jurisdictional licensing and conservation issues and not one of race, much less one of systemic racism, where the very administrative arms of society are imposing racially biased polices against Indigenous fishers. By David Delaney, >click to read< 12:35

LFA 33 to open, Monday a no-go for LFA 34: weather forecast leads to split start of commercial lobster season

The fishery in Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 33, which runs along the province’s south shore will open as scheduled on Monday, with boats leaving at 7 a.m. But that’s not the case for LFA 34 off southwestern Nova Scotia, which, following days of fine weather over the weekend, won’t see boats heading out for dumping day on the traditional last Monday of November. With boats loaded with traps and gear for the start of the season, two industry and stakeholder conference calls held over the weekend,,, “The lobster fishery is vital to our region and our province, and there is a very real anxiety among our community members that this important economic driver is in jeopardy,   >click to read< 15:30

Sipekne’katik First Nation receives proposed moderate livelihood fishery memorandum of understanding from feds

Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan has sent a proposed memorandum of understanding to the Sipekne’katik First Nation regarding its moderate livelihood fishery. The band says the draft MOU is being reviewed by its lawyers before it will be shared with the public. The only detail made available so far is that it includes an acknowledgement of the band’s right to sell its catch. “This agreement has the potential to be a historic recognition of our treaty rights,,, Sipekne’katik Chief Michael Sack said in a news release Sunday morning. >click to read< 10:29

‘Bad things can happen on nice days’: Lobster season safety takeaways

Neil LeBlanc still remembers the moment he and a crew member made eye contact after the man had been pulled overboard from their lobster vessel. A rope was clenched in the man’s hand. “I remember him looking right at me. As soon as we made eye contact, he was gone.” LeBlanc knows from experience how fast you can disappear from the deck of a vessel.,, But that calm April day in 2016, LeBlanc says, also shows how things can go wrong at any time. As soon as their crew member Wayne Jacquard had gone overboard that day, as soon as their eye contact had been made, LeBlanc was turning the boat around to retrieve their man. Helping him onboard with the rescue was crew member Alderic DeViller, known to his friends as Beef (his nickname). >click to read< 10:30

Past lobster season openers starts and misses in southwestern Nova Scotia

There are years the opening of the lobster fishery off southwestern Nova Scotia goes off without a hitch, but not always. The season is always slated to start on the last Monday of November, but sometimes the weather says otherwise. The opening day, when fishermen head to sea to set their traps, is known as dumping day. After traps have been set, boats can start hauling their catches at one minute after midnight, when day two gets underway. Here’s a look at some past season openers. 2015: Good start, good price – The lobster season got off to a good start with decent opening day weather and better yet, a better price than in previous years. Fishermen were being paid around $6 a pound for their landings. photos,   >click to read< 07:49

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

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

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

‘Reconciliation in Canada’: The Clearwater deal marks Indigenous nations’ growing clout

Chief Terry Paul, of Membertou First Nation in Nova Scotia, who is leading the Mi’kmaq coalition, described it as a “transformational opportunity for the Mi’kmaq to become significant participants in the commercial fishery,” and praised Clearwater’s management expertise, infrastructure and global presence. A spokeswoman for Clearwater said the new owners have no plans to make any operational changes other than taking the company private. The deal is a major leap for Paul’s Membertou Nation, which posted $67 million in revenue in 2019, with a diversified revenue stream from fishing, the Membertou Trade & Convention Centre on Cape Breton Island and a number of other businesses. >click to read< 10:50

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