Tag Archives: Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia fishing industry granted intervenor status in Mi’kmaw treaty rights case

The ruling Friday afternoon by Supreme Court Justice John Keith gives the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance standing in a proceeding against the Canadian government by the Potlotek First Nation. The Cape Breton band is seeking an injunction to prevent the Department of Fisheries and Oceans from interfering with its self-regulated moderate livelihood lobster fishery. It wants a court declaration that enforcement of the federal Fisheries Act infringes on its treaty right to earn a moderate living from fishing. In an oral decision, Keith said UFCA’s intervention would not unduly delay, prejudice or politicize Potlotek’s case. He said as a group representing fishers using the same shared and finite resource, UFCA has a direct interest in the case. >click to read< 17:45

Should the next fisheries minister come from central Canada?

On election night, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first cabinet casualty came early as Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan tumbled to defeat in Nova Scotia’s South Shore, St. Margarets riding. Her defeat means her successor will inherit the unresolved dispute over Nova Scotia’s Indigenous moderate livelihood lobster fishery. And that potentially means a clean slate for negotiations between all parties involved. And the chief of the band at the centre of that fishery says maybe the best way to establish that clean slate would be to enlist a fisheries minister from the interior, rather than the coasts, where they would be exposed to the pressures of their community. >click to read< 20:33

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

DFO returns patrol boats back to the wharf in Meteghan

After a confusing week for both commercial and aboriginal fishers DFO’s patrol vessels have returned to the wharf in Meteghan. After stories on the move ran in The Chronicle Herald and Globe and Mail, the boats were returned on Sunday. Both commercial and First Nations fishers are glad they are back, though for different reasons. Chief Mike Sack said Friday they wanted a federal presence to prevent a repeat of the violence Sipekne’katik’s fishermen were subject to last fall. Commercial fishermen, meanwhile, want DFO to prevent what they allege is a large scale commercial fishery happening outside their season under the guise of a food, social and ceremonial fishery. “There’s a treaty right but where does it end and where does it begin,” said Nathan Cooke, a buyer who owns Atlantic Canada Seafoods. >click to read< 17:26

Mi’kmaw vow to keep fishing despite harassment from DFO officials

The crew of the Sadie C, a Sipekne’katik Mi’kmaw lobster boat was out on the bay exercising their treaty rights when it was surrounded by six zodiacs and one large coast guard vessel. The crew dropped ten traps, which the fisheries officers immediately seized. Marcel Marr, captain of the Sadie C, says he will keep fishing. “Someone’s got to stand here and fight the fight so it might as well be me if I want further generations or my children to participate in our aboriginal fisheries,” says Marr. >click to read< 19:54

DFO is responding to allegations from the Sipekne’katik First Nation

On Thursday, the band said they had lobster traps tagged ‘Food, Social and Ceremonial,’ confiscated by DFO officers in St. Mary’s Bay. DFO says of the 10 traps they seized that day, none had FSC tags, and no vessels were seized. The department says respectful, constructive dialogue is the best way to advance reconciliation, and implement rights-based fisheries. They say their officers take a progressive approach on the water, including education, issuing warnings and laying charges, while using discretion as they take situational factors into consideration. >click to read< 08:36

Politics: Lobster dispute, frustration with Ottawa could turn the tide on the Liberals in Nova Scotia

“Trudeau had the support of the First Nations in the last election. Not anymore. We’re voting NDP,” In rural Nova Scotia ridings such as South Shore-St. Margarets, where the fishery is a major employer, federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan is now fighting to keep her job,,, It’s just past the lunch break inside the main assembly shop at Yarmouth Boat Works, These $1.2-million state-of-the-art vessels, with kitchens, sleeping quarters, flat-screen TVs and showers, are meant to venture far out into the ocean and carry thousands of pounds of lobster back to land. Owner Steve Gee says while demand for new boats has slowed, finding skilled workers is hard, despite a good fibreglass technician getting $28 an hour, a decent wage in Yarmouth County. “I need 23 workers, but three showed up today,” he said. “Our latest job posting had 300 applicants, and not one of them was in Canada.” >click to read< 11:31

Grand Chief of Assembly of First Nations tells DFO – ‘Stop criminalizing our treaty rights’

The Grand Chief of the Assembly of First Nations is calling for an end to what she calls intimidation over the Sipekne’katik First Nation’s lobster fishery. So far this summer, hundreds of traps have been seized from St. Mary’s Bay and Archibald was on a boat that was boarded by DFO officers Thursday afternoon, who then seized the traps of the fisherman she was with. “Two DFO zodiacs with eight enforcement officers encircled and boarded the boat and later traps were pulled, confiscated and loaded onto a Coast Guard boat,” Video >click to read< 19:50

RCMP charge second man in relation to 2020 fish plant fire

RCMP in Nova Scotia have charged a second man with arson in relation to a fire that destroyed a fish plant in 2020 amid tensions over a Mi’kmaq lobster fishery in southwestern Nova Scotia.,, Investigators determined the fire was the result of arson. Police say they arrested Sean Roy Messenger, 29, of Shelburne County without incident on Wednesday. Messenger has been charged with arson. He was released on a promise to appear before a judge in Yarmouth Provincial Court. In July, 24-year-old Brendan Douglas James Porter, of East Pubnico, was also arrested and charged with arson,    >click to read< 17:08

Political parties differ dramatically on moderate livelihood response

The major parties vying to replace the Liberals at Canada’s helm both promise a dramatic course change on the moderate livelihood fishery file. But it would be in very different directions. With the Liberal share of the popular vote,31.4 per cent as of Thursday, compared to the Conservatives with 33.7 per cent, and the NDP, with 20.2 per cent, there is a potential for a sea change on the most high profile issue to come out of this province in recent years. An NDP government would allow moderate livelihood and treaty based fisheries to continue or be launched,,, A Conservative government would take a harder line with First Nations, according to incumbent West Nova MP Chris D’Entremont. >click to read< 17:50

Chief Mike Sack – A Plea to Canadians Following Arrest

Today marks a new milestone in a long history of broken trust between Indigenous people and the Government of Canada. A government that pledged its commitment to truth and reconciliation has failed again to live up to its promise. On a day when we were to focus on our Treaty fishery my people had to watch their Chief be arrested and detained to further intimidate us and to send a hostile message to all Indigenous people. That message is that the government of Canada can and will continue to strip us of our dignity when the opportunity arises.,, I’m calling on all my Canadian brothers and sisters to recognize that this is the definition of systemic racism. >click to read< 08:24

Arrested by the Feds! Chief Mike Sack busted “for promoting an illegal fishery.”

The chief of Sipekne’katik First Nation has been arrested by federal fisheries officers on the day the band’s new treaty fishery launched in southwest Nova Scotia. Chief Mike Sack was arrested on Monday, taken to the Meteghan fisheries office and later released. DFO has not provided details of why Sack was arrested, or whether he could face charges under fisheries legislation. ‘Why would you arrest me? I haven’t done anything here,'” he said. “It just seems to be all scare tactics for the fisheries, to try to stop what we have going on.”  >click to read< 15:59

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

Planned “unauthorized fishery” has minister’s office concerned with Sipekne’katik treaty fishery intent

In a statement released Saturday, Bernadette Jordan’s office said the band’s self-regulated “treaty fishery,” which is slated to begin Monday, is “very concerning.” Jordan’s office said the department would continue to enforce the Fisheries Act for all harvesters, including those who operate in St. Mary’s Bay off southwestern Nova Scotia.,, Sipekne’katik Chief Mike Sack issued a statement on Friday saying the band is ready to begin a self-regulated treaty fishery that is in accordance with the Mi’kmaw’s legal right to fish when and where they want. >click to read< 14:42

No longer using term ‘moderate livelihood fishery’, Sipekne’katik treaty fishery to open Monday

The Sipekne’katik Fisheries Department said it is no longer using the term “moderate livelihood fishery,” because many in the community view it as a phrase coined by Ottawa following a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision. Mi’kmaw fishers in Nova Scotia argue that the Supreme Court decision affirms their treaty right to fish for a moderate livelihood when and where they want, including outside the federally regulated commercial fishing season. Sipekne’katik Chief Mike Sack said about 15 to 20 boats will be participating in the fishery, employing roughly 100 people. “It’s very good economic spinoff for our community,” said Sack in an interview Friday. “It doesn’t make anybody rich, it just puts food on tables.” DFO could not immediately be reached for comment Friday. >click to read< 19:38

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

Treaty rights are a provincial and federal election issue says Sipekne’katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack

The fishery offers the Mi’kmaw community in central Nova Scotia a path out of poverty, Sack said. But the strict restrictions on what Indigenous fishers can catch and sell further perpetuates the cycle of injustice,,, Indigenous fishers in Nova Scotia argue that a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision affirms the Mi’kmaw treaty right to fish for a “moderate livelihood” when and where they want, including outside the federally regulated commercial fishing season. Some critics, however, are quick to point out a clarification later issued by the court saying the treaty rights would be subject to federal regulations. >click to read< 16:52

Sipekne’katik First Nation lobster boats cut loose from a wharf in Nova Scotia.

The chief of the Sipekne’katik First Nation, Mike Sack, issued a statement saying the boats were cast adrift from their berths in Weymouth North, N.S., with the “intent to cause damage and intimidate the community.” Sack says the boats were ready to take part in the band’s food, social and ceremonial lobster fishery, which is regulated by federal rules but is not limited to a particular season. >click to read< 17:53

Proposed Halifax infill threatens the loss of lucrative lobstering grounds

An Eastern Passage lobster fisherman says some of his best catches come from a spot slated for infilling in Halifax’s Northwest Arm. Justin Stewart said Andrew Metlege’s plan to infill (make land) 45 metres out into the Arm in front of a home the developer,,, Stewart doesn’t want to lose the lucrative lobstering area to landfill. “It just sucks because when something like that is lost, then I’ve got to go in and split another place with somebody else. There’s lots of boats around.” He was a tad reluctant to talk about how good the lobster fishing is on the Arm for fear of attracting more competition. “There’s me and one other person and I think most people think we’re kind of crazy up there. But it works pretty good. photos, >click to read< 14:40

Mi’kmaw harvesting lobster in Nova Scotia under heavy police, DFO presence

Mi’kmaw harvesters are back on the water fishing for lobster and following their own food, social and ceremonial fishery plan. But the large contingent of police and fisheries officers is intimidating and infringing on their Treaty Rights.,, Boats with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans can be seen going by a local wharf with lobster traps on board. Sipekne’katik lobster harvesters are fishing for food and ceremony. Francis says there have been more police and fisheries officers present in the last few weeks. Video, >click to read< 21:22

Man charged with arson for fish plant fire

A 24-year-old man from East Pubnico, N.S., is facing a charge of arson in connection with a lobster pound fire in Middle West Pubnico, last October. RCMP say they were called to the fish plant near midnight on Oct. 16, 2020, after receiving a report of a fire. The fire destroyed the plant, which was unoccupied at the time. Brendon Douglas James Porter of East Pubnico was arrested on Wednesday and charged with arson. He has been released on conditions and is scheduled to appear in Shelburne provincial court next month. >click to read< 14:14

Lobster fishermen oppose plans to build land-based salmon farm

Two southwest Nova Scotia lobster fishermen say an aquaculture company’s proposal to build a land-based salmon farm south of Yarmouth, N.S., could threaten the region’s coastal environment and economy. They want the Municipality of the District of Yarmouth to reject an application by Boreal Salmon Inc. to build a facility on wetland in Chebogue Point. The New Brunswick-based company, backed by Chilean investors, has already bought about 22 hectares in the area and a public meeting about their proposed project is scheduled for July 20. >click to read< 18:20

Mi’kmaw harvester wants lobsters seized by DFO accounted for

A Mi’kmaw lobster harvester wants to know what happened to his lobster after finally getting his fishing gear back from DFO,,, The gear had been sitting in a federal fisheries compound since then, and Matt Cope of Millbrook First Nation spent months trying to get it back. When Cope unloaded his gear this week, he was shocked to find damaged traps with ropes cut. “Traps aren’t cheap, ropes not cheap,” he said. “When they’re taking it for months at a time, and just all of a sudden giving it back when it’s all damaged, there’s no way we can fish like that.” >click to read< 08:50

DFO seized and released hundreds of short lobster from a First Nations vessel in Cape Breton

DFO said enforcement officers inspected a vessel Tuesday night in St. Peters canal operating under a communal food, social and ceremonial licence. The lobsters were released that night. Noel d’Entremont, acting director of conservation and protection in the Maritimes region, said no charges have been laid, but an investigation is continuing. A portion of the incident was captured on video and posted to social media showing lobsters being tossed back in the water by DFO officers. The FSC licence being fished was for a Cape Breton band, which DFO declined to identify. >click to read< 17:07

Nova Scotia is launching its own seafood quality certification program

Participating companies must meet a range of traceability, handling, processing and food safety standards including an annual product quality assessment prior to export. Keith Colwell, the province’s longtime minister of fisheries and aquaculture, said customers want proof of quality. Others certifications exist, including for live lobster, which is one of the species eligible for the Nova Scotia program. The most important standard is from the Global Food Safety Initiative — a certification required by big buyers like Walmart and Loblaws. But Nova Scotia officials argue the provincial program is more comprehensive because it includes an emphasis on quality as well as food safety. >click to read< 09:12

Lobster fishermen land a deer!

Two brothers lobster fishing off the coast of Antigonish, N.S., on Thursday morning hauled up an unusual catch. Justin and Luc Boudreau first noticed the deer’s head bobbing above the waves while they were fishing near Jimtown Beach. The animal looked to be headed for Cape Breton but had a long way to go. They hoisted the deer aboard. But the rescue wasn’t over. Once the deer caught its breath, it headed back overboard and into the water. >photos, click to read< Listen to the audio report with Justin Boudreau! 14:58

Father and son keep their family fishing tradition alive

Like a lot of things on the old boat, the starter was beat up and broken. To get underway, Nick Nieuwkerk connected the electrical terminals with the metal end of a screwdriver. Then, with a zap and spark, the ancient Detroit Diesel engine roared to life. But then the throttle wouldn’t stay put, so Nick’s father, Knoep Nieuwkerk, rigged it open with a spoon and piece of string. Eventually, the pair were steaming out of Woods Harbor, Nova Scotia, on their way to Portland on April 7, aboard a 44-foot fishing boat that had seen better days since it first hit the water, 42 years earlier. There was no guarantee they’d make it, but they had to try. >video, photos, click to read< 07:38

New agreement between Potlotek and DFO off to rocky start

Craig Doucette had a lukewarm reaction to his first weekend fishing under a new arrangement,,, The experienced lobster fisher from Potlotek First Nation said fisheries officers followed him closely on Saturday morning as he set his 20 traps for the day. “They’ve never come after me like that before. They’ve never followed my boat, they always wait till I leave,,, On Sunday morning, Doucette took in his catch and said none of his traps had been seized. Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs each issued a statement on Friday saying the two sides had come to an understanding >click to read< 21:42

Sipekne’katik fisherman says delay in fishery launch the smart decision for now

Robert Syliboy, a member of the Sipekne’katik First Nation in Nova Scotia, said his community’s decision to delay the start of its own fishery this week was the smart thing to do for now. “,, Sipekne’katik Chief Mike Sack said concerns over safety is the main reason he and council members decided to postpone the start of the First Nation’s fishery for the time being. Lobster Fishing Area 34 in St. Mary’s Bay is currently closed to commercial fishing until the last week in November.  >click to read< 08:07

Minister Jordan issues statement on cooperative path forward with Potlotek First Nation moderate livelihood fishery

“I am pleased to announce today that we have reached an understanding that will see Potlotek First Nation fishing for a moderate livelihood and selling their catch starting Saturday, June 5, 2021.” As an interim measure, we will be recognizing those harvesters designated under Potlotek’s plan to be authorized to fish 700 jakej (lobster) traps without adding additional access and during the established season underway in Lobster Fishing Areas 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31a – which is within the Unama’ki region and aligns with Potlotek’s identified traditional district. The Unama’ki region is one of the seven Mi’kmaq districts in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, and spans Cape Breton Island. >click to read< 14:19