Tag Archives: Sipekne’katik First Nation

UFCA President Says Important Days Coming In Court

The group representing 2,000 commercial fishing stakeholders in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have been granted intervener status in several Indigenous court cases. The latest came in December in a notice of application brought forward by the Sipekne’katik First Nation to the Supreme Court of Canada. The band’s application is against the federal government, challenging their regulation and enforcement of Indigenous fisheries. UFCA President Colin Sproul says these are the most vital court cases since the Marshall Decision. He says the UFCA’s goal is to have one set of rules for all fishers, within established seasons, and they are committed to a peaceful solution with all parties involved. >click to read< More UFCA >click< 14:26

Nova Scotia: Prosecutors add charges for 25 in lobster pound riot

Prosecutors have added more charges against 25 people accused of entering and ransacking a Nova Scotia lobster pound at the centre of a dispute about an Indigenous self-regulated fishery. Crown lawyer Robert Kennedy, however, said in an interview Tuesday the prosecution is willing to discuss “resolutions” for “at least some” of the accused, which would avoid further court proceedings. In January 2021, the RCMP announced that 23 people were facing a charge of break and enter, with eight also charged with mischief, for their roles in the Oct. 14, 2020, incident at the facility in Middle West Pubnico, N.S. >click to read< 14:55

UFCA Granted Intervenor Status In Sipekne’katik Court Case

The Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance has been granted intervenor status in another court case involving indigenous fisheries. They will be part of the Notice of Application brought by the Sipekne’katik First Nation against the Attorney General of Canada to challenge the regulation and enforcement of Indigenous fishing activities. UFCA President Colin Sproul discusses why it’s important for them to be involved. >click to read< 09:12

Sipekne’katik fisherman’s protest dumping of lobster ‘not acceptable,’ chief says

A Sipekne’katik First Nation fisherman who appears in a video showing him dumping crates of banded lobsters into Digby harbour has been rebuked by the band’s chief. In the video, Robert Syliboy objects to a new Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) compliance measure that marks the tail fins of lobster with a paper hole puncher. The hole punch aims to identify lobsters harvested under Indigenous food, social and ceremonial (FSC) licenses in St Mary’s Bay. The conditions of those licenses prevent the sale of the catch. In the video, Syliboy says DFO is harming the lobsters by punching holes in their tail fins. >click to read< 07:39

Sipekne’katik chief ‘optimistic’ about newly appointed fisheries minister

The chief of Sipekne’katik First Nation in Nova Scotia says he’s looking forward to a clean slate with the newly appointed fisheries minister. MP Joyce Murray, who represents Vancouver Quadra, was named minister of fisheries and oceans when Justin Trudeau unveiled his new cabinet Tuesday.,, Mike Sack said since the federal election, he has been “waiting patiently” for Trudeau to name a new minister. He adds he plans to reach out to Murray soon for a one-on-one chat. >click to read< 10:33

A year ago violence erupted in the lobster fishery, “moderate livelihood” fishery status unresolved

One year ago, confrontation and violence upended the normally business-like commercial lobster season in St. Mary’s Bay and Lobster Fishing Area 35 in southwest Nova Scotia. Tensions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishermen in the bay had erupted in several dangerous boat-ramming incidents.,, But a full year later, as the wheels of justice turn ever so slowly, none of those charged have entered a plea. Before we examine how that happened, it’s worth noting some updates in the troubled fishery. >click to read< 10:07

The body of a missing fisherman was found off Yarmouth

The body of a missing fisherman has been found off the coast of Yarmouth, N.S. The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre said the 52-year-old was found at 2 p.m. AT Friday by search and rescue personnel.  JRCC spokesperson Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens offered his condolences to the family, friends and community of the fisherman. The man was the captain of a fishing vessel identified as the Miss Janet, which was travelling from Shelburne to Saulnierville. The man’s identity has not been released at the request of his family. Our condolences. >click to read< 15:54

UPDATED: Search continues for 54-year-old missing fisherman off Yarmouth

Crews with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre are searching for a missing fisherman in the waters off southern Nova Scotia. The centre said they were notified at about 4 a.m. AT of a man who had gone overboard from a fishing vessel about 27 kilometres off the coast of Yarmouth, N.S. Lt. Cmdr. Brian Owens said there were initially four people on board the vessel. Three of them went to sleep, leaving the captain in the wheelhouse. The band office of the Sipekne’katik First Nation confirmed the missing man is a member of the community. Several fishermen from Sipekne’katik were out on the water assisting in the search Thursday. >click to read< 17:32

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

Sipekne’katik First Nation’s lobster study to assess impact of summer and fall fishing

The boat, Mamma Ain’t Happy, is owned by Sipekne’katik First Nation and is fishing under food, social, and ceremonial (FSC) tags. The tags are the licence under which the lobster can legally be fished and allow the band to harvest it for those purposes but not to sell it. After each trip, the catch is brought back to the community for lobster giveaways that feed most of the families in the second-largest Mi’kmaw band in Nova Scotia.  But this boat doesn’t just fish for people’s supper. It’s also a data collection site for a study on lobster conservation. >click to read< 13:48

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

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

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

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

The Sipekne’katik First Nation has indefinitely postponed the start of a communal lobster fishery

The band said it was concerned for the safety of its fishermen and lacked resources to launch the fishery in St. Marys Bay. “The reality is that we would need to provide our own security and police our own gear getting seized and it feels like a costly prospect for our community after all that we have lost,” Chief Mike Sack said in a news release. The decision to postpone came following an emergency meeting of fishermen at Sipekne’katik on Wednesday morning. >click to read< 14:06

Sipekne’katik Social and Ceremonial Fishery Delayed To June 3rd

The start of a first nations lobster fishery in St. Mary’s Bay has been delayed. The Sipekne’katik First Nation planned to launch a food, social and ceremonial fishery tomorrow, but that will now begin June 3rd. The band says public health guidelines will see greater flexibility for community members to prepare, and ensure a safe and secure start to the season. The decision is a step back from a planned self-regulated moderate livelihood fishery. >click to read< 10:50

As tensions rose during N.S. fisheries dispute, province balked at paying for extra RCMP

The Mounties have faced scrutiny for their handling of the tensions that followed the launch in September of Sipekne’katik First Nation’s self regulated fishery in St. Marys Bay. Critics included federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller who said the force should have done more to protect Mi’kmaw harvesters,,, It’s unclear what impact, if any, the financial approvals had on the RCMP’s staffing plans. “The number and type of RCMP resources that were deployed was based on operational needs,” Cpl. Chris Marshall, an RCMP spokesperson, said in an email. “In order to protect officer and public safety, we don’t discuss our operations, tactics and resources.” >click to read< 07:55

“This is a transformational moment” – Mi’kmaq lead billion-dollar sea change

One of the key differences between the Clearwater deal and the Mi’kmaq moderate-livelihood fishery is that Clearwater held commercial offshore licences, allowing them to fish lobster year-round, while moderate livelihood contends with treaty rights and typically means inshore lobster fishing (within 50 nautical miles from shore). Offshore fishing requires larger boats, more intense training and safety protocols. Last summer, Membertou First Nation purchased two of the offshore licences, and Paul promised then that they would continue to gain access to more seafood markets. Buying out Clearwater, which sold more than $600 million in scallops, clams, rock crab, shrimp and lobster on the global market in 2019, has made the coalition the largest holder of shellfish licences and quotas in Canada. >click to read< 09:38

Sipekne’katik may seek United Nations peacekeepers for contentious N.S. fishery relaunch

The Sipekne’katik First Nation says it is considering asking the United Nations to send peacekeepers to police the self-regulated lobster fishery it plans to relaunch in southwestern Nova Scotia outside the commercial fishing season. On Thursday, Chief Mike Sack said Sipekne’katik fishermen will return to St. Marys Bay in June despite warnings in March from federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan that her department will enforce rules prohibiting commercial lobster fishing outside of commercial seasons. “We’re going to send a letter off to the United Nations and hoping that they can come and keep the peace. And it was very obvious to me that we couldn’t rely on the RCMP or DFO,” Sack said. >click to read< 08:44

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

Sipekne’katik First Nation has filed a lawsuit against non-Indigenous fishers, the RCMP and the Feds

In a statement of claim filed Friday with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, the Sipekne’katik First Nation alleges that commercial fishermen stole and damaged hundreds of band members’ traps and engaged in a co-ordinated campaign of intimidation and harassment. The lawsuit alleges that between 75 and 100 boats operated by non-Indigenous fishers headed to St. Marys Bay near Saulnierville, N.S., where they were used in late September 2020 to “intimidate and harass one or more of the plaintiffs, and to steal or damage their lobster traps.” None of the allegations has been proven in court. A representative for the non-Indigenous fishers could not be reached for comment. >click to read< 19:01

Crown-Indigenous Relations should take the lead on the Nova Scotia lobster dispute, pointing to DFO’s lost credibility.

The Liberal government’s “new path” that has been broadly rejected by Atlantic First Nations is an “interim measure,” says Liberal MP Jaime Battiste, to address moderate livelihood fishing,,, Mr. Battiste (Sydney-Victoria, N.S.) is one of three Mi’kmaw Parliamentarians, who together offered solutions to the conflict that has persisted since September,,, For Mr. d’Entremont, part of the problem, though, is that the matter has become an Indigenous relations issue, because of the longstanding problem with DFO’s approach, and lack of enforcement. “We’ve gotten too far into Indigenous rights and what an agreement, or a treaty back in [1760] told us. It’s hard to apply it to today’s economy, in today’s fishing industry, and I don’t know how to fix that,” he said. Mr. d’Entremont acknowledged it’s a perspective that would make some “very mad.” “I recognize the right, but I understand the right can be regulated,” he said. >click to read< 18:00

Bernadette Jordan: Fisheries officers will enforce the rules. Moderate livelihood fisheries must take place within the commercial season

Anyone caught harvesting lobster outside the commercial fishing season this year will have to contend with fisheries officers, says federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan. The minister was referring to Mi’kmaw chiefs in Nova Scotia who have uniformly rejected the federal governments mandate that all moderate livelihood fisheries must take place within the commercial season. The Mi’kmaw chiefs say they intend to defy the federal government and fish out of season again this year. They say the federal mandate was imposed without adequate consultation or scientific justification. >click to read< 18:15

Conserving lobster stocks: Lobster landings data released by DFO show complex picture

Both Mi’kmaw fishers and people who work in the commercial fishing industry say conservation is a key concern. Some in the commercial fishing industry have pointed to declining lobster catches as evidence of potential harm to the fishery. The Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association has said it has concerns about the amount of lobster being landed in St. Marys Bay, which it says has declined 68 per cent since 2016. Fisheries and Oceans Canada released data showing a decline from the record highs in 2015-16. However, an examination of the 18 years of data shows a nuanced picture. >click to read< 08:10

Feds say all fisheries must operate within the commercial season. Mike Sack says ‘not going to happen’

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said in a statement on Wednesday that Ottawa will not issue licenses to fisheries that operate outside the federal commercial season. Last fall, the Sipekne’katik First Nation in Nova Scotia launched its own self regulated, rights based lobster fishery outside the federal fishing season, sparking a violent backlash from commercial fishers. Sack says the federal government has no right to impose its rules and regulations on the Mi’kmaw, and that Sipekne’katik’s fishery will be back this year — bigger and better than ever. >click to read< 07:51