Tag Archives: Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia: The hidden fight for baby eels – Court docs reveal why DFO shut down the elver fishery for all of 2020

The federal department had been closely monitoring, and in some cases prosecuting, the unauthorized sale of baby eels harvested by Mi’kmaq under Food, Social and Ceremonial (FSC) eel licences since 2017. The appearance of more than 110 Indigenous fishermen at the beginning of April 2020, up from 21 across the region in 2019, quickly forced a shutdown of the little known but lucrative fishery throughout the Maritimes, the documents state. DFO was in the middle of a collision between Mi’kmaq asserting treaty rights and commercial harvesters anxious to protect a fishery worth $38 million in 2019. >click to read< 08:32

Absolute Inequity – Family of lost fisherman denied Workers’ Compensation survivor’s benefit

The mother of a fisherman who died when his scallop boat sank says she was shocked to learn his family won’t receive an accidental death benefit because he was single and had no children. Aaron Cogswell, 29, was one of six men who died when the Chief William Saulis sank off the coast of Delaps Cove, N.S., in December. His mother, Lori Phillips, said she recently learned that the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia will not pay the $15,000 lump sum survivor’s benefit to the family. “A survivor is a survivor, if it’s a wife or,,, Phillips said she asked the board to put the denial in writing, so she knew exactly why >click to read< 10:48

FV Tyhawk: Missing fisherman’s brother says he drowned trying to save others

As Derek Sock raced to his brother’s sinking fishing boat on Saturday, Craig Sock was fighting to save his shipmates in the frigid waters 16 nautical miles off the coast of Nova Scotia. The Tyhawk was making its second run of the day to set lobster traps when it began to take on water. As the crew tried to ready the life raft, the Tyhawk suddenly capsized, trapping Jumbo, as Craig Sock of Elsipogtog First Nation was known, and another man in the wheelhouse. Jumbo managed to toss that man out a window and both men surfaced. Derek said his brother lost his life trying to save his crew mate. >click to read< 07:57

Indigenous fishermen to assert treaty right for lobster fishing during court case

The stage is now set in Nova Scotia for another round in the court battles over Indigenous fishing rights. The lawyer for four Mi’kmaw fishermen appeared by phone Tuesday in Yarmouth provincial court. The men admit they were fishing for lobster aboard the vessel Charlene Helen off Pinkney’s Point, Yarmouth County, in September 2019. The area they were fishing in is part of Lobster Fishing Area 34, which was closed to fishing activity at the time. >click to read< 08:56

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

Mi’kmaw lobster harvester will fight Canada’s reconciliation ‘death certificate’ after being charged by DFO

“I feel like I’m doing nothing wrong, and here I am. I have to go to court. I’m being treated like a criminal. It’s belittling. Craig Doucette stands accused on two counts of fishing lobster without authorization. He’s also accused of fishing lobster during a closed time, violating the Atlantic Fishery Regulations of the Fisheries Act. Doucette doesn’t dispute that he was fishing. But he contends what he did wasn’t illegal based on Peace and Friendship Treaties from the 18th century. “One-hundred-and-ten per cent: I’m not guilty,” he said. >click to read< 07:25

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

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

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

DFO: moderate livelihood fisheries must occur during commercial season

The Trudeau government will announce conditions for the authorization of moderate livelihood fisheries Thursday, including the expectation that those fisheries take place within existing commercial seasons. The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs did not respond to a request for comment, but Mi’kmaw leaders and some academics have insisted the moderate livelihood fishery poses no risk to stocks because it is too small. The office of Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan declined to comment in detail on DFO’s position until it is released Thursday, except to say the decision is based on conservation. >click to read< 07:10

Evolution of the lobster fishery over 78 years: 92-year-old lobster fisherman looks back

Back in the day when Garnet Snow fished for a living to provide for his wife and five children, he fished alone. He paid 25 cents for a seasonal lobster license to a Nova Scotia fisheries officer at the time. Snow started fishing full time in a 25-foot boat called Olive Oil, with his father Earl Snow, when he left school in Grade 8 at age 14. Snow was born in 1929 on Snow’s Island, on the Eastern Shore about halfway between Ecum Secum and Sheet Harbour, and now at 92, he looks back at the local fishery of the 1950s and the next several decades. >click to read< 10:19

Commercial fishermen seek intervenor status in First Nation’s lawsuit

A group representing commercial fishermen in Atlantic Canada wants to be part of the lawsuit the Sipekne’katik First Nation has launched against the provincial government. The Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance has applied for intervenor status. In a news release announcing its intention to try to join the court action, the alliance said it supports the Indigenous right to fish and sell their catch. However, spokesperson Colin Sproule said, “We are opposed to anyone, Indigenous or non-Indigenous, selling fish caught outside federal or provincial regulations related to size, season and quota.”>click to read< 09:18

Canada launches new aircraft to improve conservation and ocean protection

Fishery officers require state of the art aerial surveillance equipment to continue the important work they conduct protecting Canada’s marine resources, ensuring compliance with fisheries management measures and enforcing the Fisheries Act from coast to coast to coast. In 2019, Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced a five-year, $128 million contract with PAL Aerospace-located in St. John’s, to deliver a new fleet of four aerial surveillance aircrafts, including two long-range maritime patrol aircrafts. When operational, the planes will fly out of three bases of operation: St. John’s, Newfoundland and LabradorHalifax, Nova Scotia; and a brand new facility in Campbell River, British Columbia. >click to read< 15:22

Three people to appear in court following N.S. fishing dispute

An Indigenous band councillor and two fishermen are due to appear Monday in a Nova Scotia courtroom. Brandon Maloney is facing charges of unsafe operation of a vessel in relation to a September 20th incident on the water, after a Mi’kmaq First Nation launched a self-regulated fishery in the southwest corner of the province. Chief Mike Sack of Sipekne’katik said the band would fund a legal defence for the 34-year-old, who was fisheries manager for the First Nation at the time. >click to read< 08:30

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

Sipekne’katik files court action against Nova Scotia to claim fishing treaty right

The Sipekne’katik First Nation has filed a court action against the Attorney General of Nova Scotia to challenge a provincial regulation on purchasing fish products, saying it’s unconstitutional.,, The Sipekne’katik First Nation launched its moderate livelihood lobster fishery in September 2020,,,  Though the term “moderate livelihood” was not formally defined by the court, a subsequent decision ruled that the government has the authority to impose some regulations for the purposes of conservation, subject to nation-to-nation consultations. >click to read< 10:09

F/V Chief William Saulis: Royal Canadian Mounted Police end search for missing crew on sunken scallop dragger

More than a month after the crew of a scallop dragger from Nova Scotia disappeared on the Bay of Fundy, the RCMP are calling off their search for the five men suspected of going down with the vessel, citing “significant” risk to the lives of divers. The RCMP said at the time that their crews were not equipped to dive to the necessary depths to look inside, but they said they were studying their options. On Saturday, they announced in a news release that those options had been exhausted. >click to read< The RCMP is calling off its search for the Chief Willian Saulis>click to read< 11:43

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