Category Archives: Canada

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

Company willing to buy Sipekne’katik lobster from open fishing area 35

Bruce Gidney of Gidney Fisheries in Digby made the offer in response to Chief Mike Sack of Sipekne’katik, who has said buyers and suppliers won’t do business with the band amid ongoing tensions between Mi’kmaw and non-Indigenous commercial fishers. “The chief said no one was interested,” said Gidney. “We weren’t contacted and neither were other buyers I’ve talked to.” The Sipekne’katik band is sitting on 6,800 kilograms of lobster harvested by members under three commercial licences it holds in Lobster Fishing Area 35, or LFA 35. The commercial season opened there last week. It is the only area currently open to commercial fishing. >click to read< 08:45

What Would a British Columbia Seal and Sea Lion Cull Actually Entail?

Cast an eye upon Canada’s Pacific coast and it shouldn’t take long to spot its most ubiquitous marine mammal, the harbor seal. At least 100,000 are thought to occupy the coves and nearshore waters along British Columbia’s coast. You may view seals with wonder, as evidence of a productive marine ecosystem on the doorstep of civilization. Or, just as easily, as a ravenous predator gobbling up the same fish populations sought by humans. Enter a divisive proposal to cull the seals and sea lions. Enough time has been spent studying the species’ impact on fish stocks, advocates of the cull say: it’s time to cut them back. >click to read< 11:42

Study: Captive-bred salmon in wild may do more harm than good

Releasing captive-bred Atlantic salmon into the ocean, a long-standing practice to boost stocks for commercial fishing, reduces the rate at which wild populations reproduce and may ultimately do more harm than good, researchers cautioned Wednesday. On average, salmon born in hatcheries in Ireland’s Burrishoole catchment only produced a third as many offspring in the North Atlantic compared to wild fish, according to a study in the Royal Society’s biological research journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. It has long been assumed that wild and captive-born fish were “ecologically equivalent,” but the new research shows otherwise. Fish reared for any period of their life in an aquaculture environment, it turns out, somehow change compared to their wild counterparts. >click to read< 11:13

‘Blacklisted:’ Nova Scotia First Nation pulls commercial lobster boats from the water

The chief of the First Nation behind a disputed moderate livelihood lobster fishery in Nova Scotia says recent vandalism and the loss of potential sales have cost the band more than $1.5 million — and he wants those responsible to be held accountable. Mike Sack, chief of the Sipekne’katik First Nation, also alleged the band had been blacklisted by lobster buyers. Sack later told reporters the band has filed an application for a court injunction aimed at preventing people from harassing Indigenous fishers at the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., where the livelihood fleet is based. The First Nation attracted national attention on Sept. 17 when it launched a “moderate livelihood” fishing fleet in St. Marys Bay in southwestern Nova Scotia, almost two months before the federally regulated fishing season was set to open.  >click to read< 08:29

Sipekne’katik seek injunction from Nova Scotia Supreme Court to end threats, interference in lobster fishery

The Sipekne’katik band is seeking a temporary court injunction to end blockades, interference and threats over its lobster fishing in southwest Nova Scotia. The band applied to Nova Scotia Supreme Court Wednesday for an injunction to prohibit anyone from trying to stop members from accessing two wharves in the region, in Saulnierville and Weymouth, and a lobster pound it uses in New Edinburgh. The band also seeks to end interference at sea, where it says traps have been damaged, destroyed or taken by non-Indigenous fishermen. >click to read< 14:01

Nova Scotia restaurants boycott lobster in response to violence – Steelworkers Union Calls for Resolution

Kourosh Rad, owner of Garden Food Bar and Lounge in Halifax, says he removed his popular lobster-based menu items in support of the province’s Mi’kmaq fishers. Matt Boyle, co-owner of Dear Friend bar in Dartmouth, N.S., removed lobster from his restaurant’s menu last month. “We wanted to remove the lobster roll as a sign of our solidarity but to also expedite conversations of peace or just spread some more awareness,” Boyle said in an interview Monday. >click to read<

Steelworkers Union Calls for Resolution to Lobster Fisheries Dispute – The United Steelworkers union (USW) calls on the federal government to find a resolution to the Nova Scotia lobster fisheries dispute that respects Indigenous treaty rights and ensures community safety. “The federal government cannot stand by as tensions and violence escalate. >click to read< 07:54

‘We are not racist’: Nova Scotia fishing communities call for action again from feds to resolve lobster fishing dispute

By daybreak, they numbered in the hundreds. Men and women from coastal communities throughout southwestern Nova Scotia gathered in the parking lot of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans building in Barrington Passage on Monday morning to once again ask for action from the federal government to resolve the ongoing lobster fishing dispute with Sipekne’katik First Nation. They also wanted to set the record straight. “We want to have dialogue. We need to have dialogue and that’s not happening. In my mind it’s the federal government that is painting us as racist and First Nations. That is not us. That is not on us. We want to be able to prosecute the fishery under the same rule of law.” >click to read< 16:54

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

Cabinet ministers request emergency debate over Nova Scotia treaty dispute

Four cabinet ministers and the NDP have requested an emergency debate in the House of Commons over a treaty dispute between commercial fishermen and Mi’kmaq fishers. Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan says parliamentarians should have the opportunity to voice their concerns about the violence that’s erupted over the dispute about Mi’kmaq treaty rights to fish for a “moderate living.” She and three other ministers requested the debate in a letter to the House Speaker last night. >click to read< 08:24

A terrible deal for the fishery

Sometime in the past few weeks, the minister of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture signed off on the transfer of the processing licenses owned by Quinlan Brothers to Royal Greenland. Royal Greenland is now the largest, most dominant fish processing company in this province. The purchase of Quinlan Brothers by Royal Greenland and its subsequent approval by the provincial government was completed with little debate and almost no context. The inshore fishery in this province is extremely valuable. In 2019, the total value was approximately $1 billion, with about half going to the inshore fish harvesters. This is new money into our economy, largely into rural communities, and created with little to no provincial government support. The total value of the fishery is approximately $1 billion per year. Royal Greenland is one of the largest seafood companies in the world. But it has just one shareholder — the Government of Greenland.  >click to read< 17:01

Man charged with arson after vehicle fire outside one lobster pound, man charged with assault at another location

A Yarmouth County man has been charged with arson after a vehicle was torched outside a lobster facility in New Edinburgh, N.S. Meteghan RCMP were called to a disturbance outside the lobster pound Tuesday evening, just one of two locations where several hundred commercial fishermen and their supporters raided facilities where Mi’kmaw fishermen were storing their catches. Michael Burton Nickerson, 31, has been charged with arson causing damage to property. A Digby County man was also charged in the midst of the ongoing dispute over the lobster fishery. Chris Gerald Melanson, 46, has been >charged with assault< after allegedly grabbing and shoving Sipekne’katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack on Wednesday during an altercation at the lobster pound in New Edinburgh. >click to read< 14:38

Nova Scotia lobster pound fire called suspicious – man in hospital with life-threatening injuries

A fire that police are calling suspicious destroyed a lobster pound in Middle West Pubnico, N.S., early Saturday. The blaze broke out at one of two facilities raided and vandalized by commercial fishermen in southwest Nova Scotia earlier this week protesting the “moderate livelihood” fishery launched by Sipekne’katik First Nation last month. Mi’kmaw fishers were storing their catches at the facilities. Tensions have been simmering for weeks in the province’s southwest, sparked by the launch of a moderate livelihood lobster fishery by the Sipekne’katik band outside the federally mandated commercial season — 21 years after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the case of Donald Marshall Jr. >click to read< 18:36

Lobster crisis. Is anyone at the helm?

Clearly, Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan doesn’t suffer from NIMBY syndrome (Not In My Backyard). How do we know? Because she’s allowed fisheries tensions to escalate,,, To be fair, the issue has simmered for decades. A 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision reaffirmed the treaty rights of Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaw communities to a moderate livelihood fishery. Tempers have flared occasionally over the years, and none of Jordan’s predecessors had the courage to create an industry where the moderate livelihood fishery happened without opposition from commercial fishers. The minister needs to show leadership before someone gets seriously hurt, or worse. >click to read< 12:19

A fire destroyed a lobster pound in Middle West Pubnico, N.S., early Saturday

The blaze follows two raids by commercial fishermen on lobster pounds in southwest Nova Scotia earlier this week protesting the “moderate livelihood” fishery launched by Sipekne’katik First Nation last month. Eel Brook Fire Chief Jonathan LeBlanc told CBC News that fire crews responded to a fire at a “large commercial structure” at 1065 Highway 335 at around midnight. RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Andrew Joyce confirmed that police were also at the scene. He said if the fire is deemed suspicious, police will investigate it alongside the fire marshal’s office. >click to read< 09:08

He had hoped to help end Nova Scotia fishery tensions, but now this union leader feels he just has to step down

It’s an ebb tide; in the afternoon sun in the Acadian fishing village of Meteghan, the Salt Shaker hangs low on the wharf. It seems appropriate. Comeau’s resignation has scuttled one of the few potential bright spots in a tumultuous week in southwestern Nova Scotia’s lobster fishery conflict; the hope that talks between him and Sipekne’katik chief, Mike Sack, might be the first steps towards a solution to the battle between Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers.“ Now, the planned talks are dead, and the conflict that has torn the fishing community apart has no end in sight. >click to read< 08:18

 N.S. fishermen’s union head quits, says lobster dispute is ‘too much of a toll’ on his family – Joel Comeau says it’s no longer safe for him to be the president of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union Local 9 in Nova Scotia. Comeau stepped down Friday ahead of a planned meeting with Sipekne’katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack to discuss the increasingly tense dispute between commercial and Mi’kmaw lobster fishermen in the province. >click to read< 10:44

Trudeau defends federal response as threats escalate over Mi’kmaw fishery in Nova Scotia

“We are expecting the RCMP and police services to do their jobs and keep people safe,” Trudeau said.  On Thursday, the chief of the Sipekne’katik First Nation urged Trudeau to step in and make sure those involved in the violence are prosecuted. The vice-president of a fishermen’s union in Nova Scotia has stepped down, citing fears for his family’s safety as threats from some non-Indigenous fishermen opposed to a self-regulated Mi’kmaw lobster fishery continue to escalate. Joel Comeau, a former member of the Local 9 of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, was supposed to meet with Sack on Friday morning but abruptly cancelled the meeting. Comeau said he’s received “a lot of flak from my people and a lot of intimidation” over his willingness to work with Sack to find a way forward. “This community is out of hand. This community feels unsafe,” said Comeau. >click to read< 16:00

Canada’s courts and governments have themselves to blame for the lobster fishery dispute

Imagine the reaction you’d have if you, a Canadian worker, in any field, were told by the courts and the government that you could earn only a “moderate livelihood.” Imagine that on top of this, you’re told that there is no definition of “moderate livelihood”, that it’ll be worked out over time. Your howls of protest would be loud and intense, and rightly so. Yet this is precisely what happened for the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet in Eastern Canada when the Supreme Court of Canada made its 1999 decision in the case of R. v. Marshall, ruling that the First Nations had a treaty right to fish for commercial purposes, but with a “moderate livelihood” restriction on that right. The Marshall ruling,,, >click to read< 16:12

Angry mob trap Mi’kmaw fishermen at a lobster pound in southwestern Nova Scotia

An angry mob of non-Indigenous lobster fishermen trapped two Mi’kmaw fishermen inside a lobster pound in southwestern Nova Scotia late Tuesday evening. According to Jason Marr, a Mi’kmaw lobster fisherman with the Sipekne’katik First Nation, N.S., the angry crowd also set fire to his van and threw rocks at the facility’s windows in West Pubnico while he and another fisherman, Randy Sack, were trapped inside. Marr said he fled to the lobster pound in West Pubnico Tuesday evening when he heard that a mob of non-Indigenous fishermen were heading to the wharf,,, >click to read< 09:30

Reality TV and Real Work in the Fishing Industry

Fishing may be the world’s second oldest profession, but the industry is about as visible as a quiet cousin at a family reunion. Unassuming, keeping to itself, it is largely ignored in talk about work and the economy.  All of which belies its oddly large footprint in reality TV. Some of these “fishing industry” shows look at huge, highly capitalized and often nationalized factory fishing fleets.  But most usually focus on much smaller, community and family-based single-owner boat crews that are part of a local fleet. >click to read< 08:09

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

The true cost of wind power is staggering, and despite wild claims to the contrary, is becoming more even expensive, not less.

Dr John Constable and Gordon Hughes have done what the mainstream media have never done and what renewable energy rent seekers would rather they didn’t: they’ve opened the books of account to show that where the true cost of onshore wind and solar is staggering, the cost of offshore wind power is out of this world. The dramatically falling costs of renewables are now a political, a media, and conversational cliché. However, the claim is demonstrably false. Audited accounts show that far from getting cheaper, wind power is actually becoming more expensive. Politicians and journalists would be certain about the matter. >click to read< 08:46

Scientists perplexed by this year’s low chum salmon numbers in Yukon River

The latest estimates aren’t just bad, they’re “absolutely dismal,” says Stephanie Quinn-Davidson, director of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission in Alaska. Every year scientists count fish as they swim upstream by Eagle, Alaska, on the way back from the ocean. Scientists manually review the data from the Eagle sonar. While it can be tricky, they can separate chum from other fish by size, speed, and direction of travel. This year the station’s fall chum estimate is 23,828 fish. >click to read< 08:47

Our fishery is not only neglected, but for sale

Imagine our centuries-old fishery taken over by a foreign country. Imagine a minister of fisheries representing our province’s interest rubber-stamping this proposal. Imagine the recommendation coming from a five-member all-male board with little experience. The unimaginable above is truly our reality for our iconic industry. Denmark has recently bought interests in the Newfoundland fisheries, with the aim to now purchase additional fishing companies. Those Newfoundland and Labrador companies they have bought have been operating here for many years. By gaining access to processing plants, Denmark will also gain control over the fishing resource through fishermen who have been given quotas for various species. >click to read<  by Gus Etchegary 08:20

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

Coronavirus Pandemic’s ‘second wave’ sending P.E.I. tuna prices down

Tuna fishers out of North Lake, P.E.I., are seeing the impact of rising Coronavirus case numbers in central Canada. Tuna buyer and processor Jason Tompkins said the season got off to a good and early start this year. “We had more fish go in July this year than any year in the last 20,” Tompkins told Island Morning host Laura Chapin. “A lot of guys did see the writing on the wall. They took our advice as buyers and went early, and the prices we saw in July and August were some of the highest we’ve seen in years.” But those prices have plummeted as COVID-19 cases rise. Tuna is almost exclusively exported off the Island, with restaurants the main market. >click to read< 13:16

To fight climate change, should we mine the deep sea?

Ancient rocks lie across vast fields miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. Far from people, but not entirely out of reach, they contain metals such as cobalt, used in batteries for technology like electric cars. They are numerous, about the size of meatballs or potatoes, and formed over millions of years. These stones may hold a key to fighting climate change, according to a contingent of entrepreneurs who want to mine them. To wean the world off fossil fuels that worsen global warming, scientists say, will require a lot of batteries. Opponents argue that rushing into deep-sea mining risks destroying a pristine wilderness,,, Skeptics of the industry believe it is better to focus on improving mining conditions on land.  >click to read< 17:25

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

“Disabilities last a lifetime” – DFO must consider fisherman’s charter rights in licence fight

Dana Robinson of Parkers Cove has a medical condition affecting his leg that hinders his ability to stand on a boat for long periods of time. His boat was operating in the Bay of Fundy under a DFO provision that allows fishermen to designate a substitute operator once they provide adequate medical proof of their condition. The provision, however, only allows the substitution for five years. The time limit doesn’t sit well with Robinson. Disabilities, he said, “last a lifetime.” >click to read< 11:21

Mi’kmaw fishing vessel destroyed in suspicious fire at N.S. wharf

A suspicious fire at a southwestern Nova Scotia wharf has destroyed a boat belonging to a Mi’kmaw fisherman, casting doubt on his ability to join the upcoming commercial lobster season. Robert Syliboy woke up to a call from a friend early Monday, asking if he had a boat tied up at the Comeauville wharf in Digby County. When Syliboy replied that he did, the friend told him the vessel might be in flames. Photos soon confirmed the 12-metre boat was indeed Syliboy’s. >click to read< 18:53