Tag Archives: moderate livelihood fishery

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

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

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

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

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

N.S. Mi’kmaq to start season with scaled-down plans, RCMP makes statement on Moderate Livelihood Fishery

A Mi’kmaq community is scaling down plans for a lobster harvest in southwestern Nova Scotia next week, after Ottawa threatened to pull traps that aren’t licensed by the Fisheries Department. Sipekne’katik Chief Mike Sack told reporters today that instead of pursuing a “moderate livelihood” fishery with up to 50 traps per boat, Indigenous fishers will begin the season by pursuing a food, social and ceremonial fishery. >click to read< , RCMP Make Statement On Upcoming Moderate Livelihood Fishery – RCMP say they will ensure a coordinated, appropriate and measured approach, if required. Resources will be deployed based on operational needs. >click to read< 14:46

No more kicking ‘the rock down the road,’ on Indigenous fishery

A member of the parliamentary committee looking at Indigenous rights to a moderate livelihood fishery, says it is past time for government to deal with the issue. The parliamentary fisheries and oceans committee released a report earlier this month containing 40 recommendations on how to move those treaty rights forward. “It’s unfortunate that since the Marshall decision was made in Supreme Court that successive governments, Liberal and Conservative, have what I would call kicked the rock down the road rather than deal with the issue. And we’ve seen that come to a head last year,” said Egmont MP Bobby Morrissey, “Canada and the industry suffered a bit of a black eye from that, and it was unnecessary.” >click to read< 10:05

Mi’kmaq community angered at alleged government seizure of lobster traps

Federal fisheries officers seized 37 lobster traps that were set today by an Indigenous harvester. The Potlotek First Nation, located about 75 kilometres south of Sydney, N.S., issued a news release indicating the community had authorized the traps as part of its livelihood fishery.,, Earlier this year, federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan had said if bands haven’t negotiated agreements with Ottawa and received federal licences for moderate livelihood fisheries, then the government would enforce regulations. >click to read< 19:14

Zero chance of the UN intervening with peacekeepers to monitor Sipekne’katik lobster fishery

Queens University political scientist John McGarry said Chief Mike Sack might have “good political reasons” for making the request, but it won’t happen. “I’ll just put it bluntly: there is zero chance of the UN intervening with peacekeepers,” he said. McGarry said that’s due to several reasons, including that Canada would have to agree to the request and then invite peacekeepers in. “The Canadian government is not going to consent to that because that would mean it was incapable itself of looking after this issue, and that would be a profoundly embarrassing abdication of its responsibilities as a government, so it’s not going to agree to it,” he said. Failing that, the UN Security Council would have to pass,,, >click to read< 07:20

“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

Ottawa, Mi’kmaq community on collision course over plan for second lobster season

The federal fisheries minister said today that enforcement officers will be in place in St. Mary’s Bay to “uphold the Fisheries Act” if Sipekne’katik fishers harvest lobster beginning on June 1. Bernadette Jordan’s comment came shortly before Chief Mike Sack held a news conference to say his band will operate a five-month season that will occur outside of the commercial season. Sack says the plan envisions 15 to 20 boats setting 1,500 traps, with a midsummer closure during the moulting and reproduction season and its own enforcement officials. >click to read< 14:18

Sipekne’katik giving back lobster licences to DFO, starting own fishery

Sipkne’katik First Nation will announce Thursday, the voluntary relinquishment and return of their commercial licences to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. At the same event, they will announce their plans for their own self-regulated moderate livelihood fishery and a joint study with Dalhousie University’s marine affairs program. The move sets them squarely at odds with Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, who in March issued a statement saying that DFO will work with First Nations to implement moderate livelihood fisheries this year but they must occur during established commercial seasons. >click to read< 17:16

Canadian government likely has not met constitutional obligations to First Nations

The precedent set by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Marshall cases recognizes the First Nations’ right to fish under the Peace and Friendship Treaties but also allows for limitations by the government for the purpose of conservation. The Badger decision set out the parameters for applying those limitations and puts the onus on the federal government to show that the infringement of treaty rights is justified, and to consult with First Nations to find a solution that puts the minimum restrictions on Indigenous rights. The 13 Nova Scotia First Nations chiefs have unanimously rejected Jordan’s plan for a number of reasons, a major one being a lack of consultation. >click to read< 11:45

Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaq chiefs want to see the science that restricts their fisheries.

Last week, Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, in a bid to end the conflict that has arisen since the Sipekne’katik First Nation began a moderate livelihood lobster fishery in September, announced that such fisheries would be required to operate within established commercial fishery seasons. That announcement, sandwiched between two meetings with the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs, won praise from commercial fishers, who have contended that fishing outside their established seasons harms the fish stock. However, it drew scorn from Indigenous fishers,,, In a statement Friday, the assembly said that despite requesting specific data sets from the department during meetings over the past week, “including detailed scientific, economic and management data to justify the imposition of commercial seasons,” no such data has been provided. >click to read< 07:40

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

DFO Path Forward Rejected – ‘We’re going to establish our own fishery’

“We’re going to establish our own fishery and our seasons outside of theirs,” Chief Mike Sack said Wednesday. “We’ll push our own season and determine what those months are going to be.” Sack was responding to a letter from Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan that said any moderate livelihood fishery must operate under the rules and regulations of DFO’s commercial fishery. Then the letter spells out the rules under which any moderate livelihood fishery would be negotiated and what Canada is “prepared” to allow,,, Sack said none of that was acceptable. >click to read< 07:17

Fisheries Minister Jordan: A new path for First Nations to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood

We have never stopped working with First Nations to reach agreements and implement their right to a moderate livelihood. That is why effective this season, we will introduce a new path for First Nations to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood, one that addresses much of the feedback we’ve heard over the past year. This plan will support individuals, their families, and their communities. It’s a path that is flexible, adaptable, and based on three key principles: implementation of First Nations Treaty rights, conservation and sustainability of fish stocks, and transparent and stable management of the fishery. >click to read< 21:53

First Nation has right to catch lobster, but N.S. laws mean they can’t sell it. New court fight targets ‘economic racism’

A First Nation trying to establish its own self-governed lobster fishery is setting its sights on the Nova Scotia government. “We’ve always said that we’re going to hold everyone accountable for their actions,” Sipekne’katik Chief Mike Sack,,, “This is just finally coming to the forefront.” “We are more resolved than ever to bring this to court, as we have lost so much in the face of the violence and economic racism aimed at us from the commercial fishery throughout the fall,” >click to read< 08:10

Failed policies, decisions on the fly: How the moderate livelihood fishery file blew up

Documents obtained through a freedom of information request show the federal Fisheries Department knew that 21 years of kicking the moderate livelihood issue down the election cycle had resulted in there being little rule of law on St. Mary’s Bay. The feds knew that the bay had become a pressure cooker as two communities were pitted against one another over a limited resource. When the top blew off, they turned to coming up with new policy on the fly while seeking a daily scorecard on evolving public opinion. “This is about a culture (in Ottawa) that would rather avoid any conflict at all,” said Thomas Isaac, an aboriginal rights lawyer who has served as British Columbia’s chief treaty negotiator,,,>click to read< 13:49

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

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

Independent inshore lobster fishermen fear the Clearwater purchase could decimate their livelihoods

In 2018, then-Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Dominic Leblanc, put an end to Clearwater’s 20-year monopoly on the lucrative offshore fishery of Arctic surf clam when he allocated a quarter of the clam quota to the Five Nations Clam Company,,, Clearwater threatened legal action over the deal, and after it emerged that LeBlanc had family ties to Premium Seafoods, the plan was cancelled. Clearwater regained its surf clam monopoly for a year. Then in 2020, just nine days before Sipekne’katik First Nation launched its moderate livelihood fishery in Saulnierville in Southwest Nova, Clearwater announced that Membertou First Nation had purchased two of its eight licences for offshore lobster, over which the company had a monopoly,,, >click to read<  Search Results for: Five Nations Clam Company, (lots )>click here<  20:56

Mi’kmaq Chief involved in Nova Scotia lobster fishery dispute re-elected

It will be a third term for Chief Mike Sack in the community of Sipekne’katik, formerly known as Indian Brook, located about 65 kilometres north of Halifax. The returning officer of the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq says Sack won more than 72 per cent of the vote. Heather Knockwood and Kim Paul were the other candidates for chief in the community of about 2,770 people. Sack gained national prominence after he officially opened a “moderate livelihood’’ fishery for his community on Sept. 17 in Saulnierville, N.S. >click to read< 09:27

N.S. Mi’kmaq chiefs demand stop of alleged federal plans to seize lobster traps

A group of Nova Scotia Indigenous leaders has levelled harassment allegations at the federal government over an ongoing moderate livelihood fishery dispute,,, The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs issued a statement on Friday saying they’d learned of unspecified plans from the conservation and protection department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, but did not disclose the source of their information. The chiefs alleged department members may be planning to seize gear and traps belonging to fishers exercising what they describe as a protected right to earn a moderate livelihood from their efforts. >click to read< 10:23

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

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

First Nation in New Brunswick demands DFO allow access to crab fishery

The chief of the Eel Ground First Nation in northeastern New Brunswick is calling on the federal government to honour treaty rights and allow access to the snow crab fishery. Chief George Ginnish says the community, also known as Natoaganeg, has been waiting for 20 years to exercise their rights. He says the band council authorized a treaty fishery for snow crab, but the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has seized their traps.,, AFN Regional Chief Roger Augustine said the DFO has seized 31 snow crab pots so far. He’s asking Fisheries and Oceans Minister Jonathan Wilkinson step in,,, “It is disturbing to me and does not make sense that a First Nation would be given a licence but no quotas,” Augustine said. >click to read<22:54