Tag Archives: Sipekne’katik First Nation

“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

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

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

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

Sipekne’katik lobster fishery closed for the season

Over the course of the season, Sack said Sipekne’katik harvesters caught and sold close to 55,000 kilograms of lobster. Selling their catches had been a problem for Mi’kmaw harvesters earlier in their season because provincial regulations prohibit buyers from purchasing anything caught outside a commercial fishing license. But in the end, Sack said everything his community caught was sold — although he wouldn’t say exactly where. >click to read< 08:05

21 arrested in N.S. lobster conflict; Mounties release photos of persons of interest

Nova Scotia RCMP have arrested 21 people so far in relation to criminal activity by a large group at a southwestern, N.S. lobster pound on Oct. 13, and are asking the public for help in continuing to identify persons of interest. RCMP confirmed that about 200 people were present at two incidents Oct. 13 outside a facility in Middle West Pubnico, N.S., which was storing lobster caught by members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation,,, On Friday, the Mounties issued a brief statement with photos, saying they were seeking public’s help in identifying suspects who engaged in criminal activity. Video, >click to read< 15:58

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

Why a clash over crustaceans is roiling Canada

It’s a battle about jobs and livelihoods, ethnic identities and cultures, and deeply embedded family and social traditions. Yet it’s also a clash about something else: the future of what was once one of the most fecund fisheries in the world. Both sides recognize they have a shared interest in keeping the industry thriving in a place that has been traumatized by declining fish stocks. This is especially true at a time when the pandemic has temporarily cut off customers for the area’s succulent crustaceans. >click to read< 19:05

‘The Crown’s honour is at stake’:Indigenous chief makes appeal to Justin Trudeau as fisheries deal rejected

A first draft memorandum of understanding was sent by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to the Sipekne’katik last week,,, The proposal, which was received with optimism, included the capacity for the Sipekne’katik to legally sell its moderate livelihood catch, which has been problematic for the band. But according to Chief Mike Sack, the government offer fell far short of what he had expected, In an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday, Sack wrote: “Although we had tempered our response of this first draft as a potentially groundbreaking and historical understanding, Sipekne’katik remains very disappointed in the draft documents’ intent and content.” “The Crown’s honour is at stake, >click to read< 18:47

‘There’s Death Threats’: Indigenous Fishers Nervous as Nova Scotia’s Commercial Lobster Season Opens

Some Mi’kmaq have fished alongside commercial fishermen on these wharves for years but this year, after violence erupted in the past few months, they’re now divided largely by race—the white Acadian fishermen at Meteghan, and the Mi’kmaq at Saulnierville, with each flying their own flags. A court injunction, sought by the Mi’kmaq, has further separated the two groups, in an effort to prevent any more aggression and harassment towards band members on the Saulnierville wharf and on the water as they continue to fish until Dec. 17, the end of their moderate livelihood plan. The commercial inshore lobster fishery, expected to launch later this week, runs until the end of May. >click to read< 20:37

LFA 33 to open, Monday a no-go for LFA 34: weather forecast leads to split start of commercial lobster season

The fishery in Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 33, which runs along the province’s south shore will open as scheduled on Monday, with boats leaving at 7 a.m. But that’s not the case for LFA 34 off southwestern Nova Scotia, which, following days of fine weather over the weekend, won’t see boats heading out for dumping day on the traditional last Monday of November. With boats loaded with traps and gear for the start of the season, two industry and stakeholder conference calls held over the weekend,,, “The lobster fishery is vital to our region and our province, and there is a very real anxiety among our community members that this important economic driver is in jeopardy,   >click to read< 15:30

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

Replenishment, or Misguided Retribution?! Trouble brewing ahead of start to Nova Scotia fall lobster season

The recent seizure of lobster traps in St. Marys Bay by federal officials could lead to big trouble on the water. Chief Mike Sack of the Sipekne’katik First Nation says Indigenous fishers whose traps were taken last weekend and on Wednesday will replace them by taking the traps of commercial fishers when the fall season opens Monday in southwestern Nova Scotia, a huge event known as Dumping Day. “Dumping Day is going to be about 400,000 traps that our people get to pick from to replenish our traps,” Sack said in an interview, referring to the start of Canada’s largest and most lucrative lobster fishery. >video, click to read< 08:02

Tension could rise again on Monday in lobster dispute on east coast – The ongoing dispute between Indigenous and non-native lobster fishers could get tense once again. Last weekend, and on Wednesday, agents from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) seized hundreds of Indigenous lobster traps, ostensibly because the traps were set before the season opens on Monday.. >click to read<

DFO officers seize 500 lobster traps in St. Marys Bay

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says enforcement officers are going back to St. Marys Bay in southwestern Nova Scotia where they seized hundreds of lobster traps on the weekend in an area used by Mi’kmaw fishermen. Todd Somerville, DFO’s director of conservation and protection for the Maritimes, said 500 traps were seized for a variety of violations. “Untagged gear, improperly configured gear, gear that hadn’t been tended in a while. There was gear where dead lobsters were found. Over 6,000 lobsters, live lobsters, were returned,,, >click to read< 18:17

Sipekne’katik says their livelihood fishery has brought in 100,000 pounds of lobster

Sipekne’katik First Nation said Wednesday they have caught just under 100,000 pounds of lobster since the fishery launched Sept.17, according to their compliance officers. That’s about 45 metric tonnes. “The amount of lobster we took out so far is equivalent to one [commercial] licence,” said Chief Mike Sack. He said the suggestion there has been any over-fishing through the Mi’kmaw treaty fishery is not only inaccurate, but it is fueling discussions that will lead to added marginalization and conflict against the Mi’kmaq. Commercial fishermen have objected to the fishery on conservation grounds, since it is outside the regular lobster season. >click to read< 14:53

“There’s something awful fishy going on here”: What about Clearwater and the offshore lobster fishery?

Media attention is trained on St. Mary’s Bay in southwest Nova Scotia, where the Sipekne’katik First Nation led by Chief Michael Sack has been exercising Treaty rights to a “moderate livelihood” fishery since September 17. But what is happening in the offshore lobster fishery is going largely unnoticed. That is absolutely understandable, given the very ugly scenes that erupted,,, But what is happening in the offshore could also have wide-reaching impacts on the Atlantic lobster fishery and independent inshore fishers, and is also worth keeping an eye on.,, Just nine days before Sipekne’katik fishers took to the waters, Membertou First Nation and Clearwater Seafoods announced that they had “reached an agreement for the sale of two of Clearwater’s eight offshore lobster licences” to Membertou. >click to read< 19:52

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

Sipekne’katik Chief Threatening To Disrupt Commercial Lobster Fishery This Year

“If they can interfere with our fisheries, we’re going to start rallying up and blocking all of their wharves,”,, Sack says that on October 30, he spoke with a regional director of fisheries management for DFO. The director, according to Sack, informed the Chief that any untagged Mi’kmaq lobster traps would be confiscated. Commercial fishermen are claiming, however, that the Band has increased its fishing in the lobster breeding ground in recent days. On October 29, in a letter to Bernadette Jordan, several fishermen’s groups claimed the federal government is doing nothing to stop the unregulated fishery. >click to read< 11:36

Envelope pushed in St. Marys Bay and Digby folk pushed into a corner – Susan Beaton

So now that the dust is starting to settle, righteous keyboard warriors can take a breather. So let’s try to give the people of Digby County and St. Marys Bay some consideration. Terrible things were said and done this month to the Sipekne’katik First Nation people and to those who supported them. No apologies here for the bad behaviour. But consider for a moment what it’s like for a small village, its lifeblood on the line, as a fight for treaty rights plays out on its doorstep.  Sipekne’katik wanted to push to the forefront the “moderate livelihood” debate, as many bands in other areas are doing as well. This tiny bay became a focus of that effort. What happened next is a bit more dubious. By Susan Beaton, >click to read< 09:23

RCMP release persons of interest photos and video in Nova Scotia lobster pound arson investigation

Near midnight on Oct. 16 and into the early morning hours of Oct. 17 the Yarmouth County RCMP and numerous fire departments responded to a fire at the pound. The building, which was unoccupied, was destroyed. “The investigation has determined the fire to be suspicious,” reads an Oct. 30 RCMP media release.,, In an initial media release the RCMP distributed on Oct. 17, the police said a man was is in hospital with life threatening injuries believed related to the fire. He had also been referred to as a person of interest. >video, photos, click to read< 14:59

Nova Scotia lobster pound fire called suspicious – man in hospital with life-threatening injuries  >click to read<

Membertou First Nation Chief Paul leaves Assembly of Mi’kmaq Chiefs in split over moderate livelihood

Chief Terry Paul has stepped down from the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs due to a disagreement over how moderate livelihood negotiations are being conducted. Paul, who is chief of Membertou First Nation in Cape Breton, had served as the fisheries lead for the assembly’s negotiation arm called the Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative (KMKNO). Negotiations fell apart last week between that body and Fisheries and Oceans Canada over the implementation of a moderate livelihood fishery by the Mi’kmaw. Paul said Wednesday that the KMKNO is not adequately representing all of the province’s first nations. “I feel that not all the communities are being treated the same way,” >click to read< 13:34

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