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Canada Mi'kmaw parliamentarians call for new body to deal with conflict over lobster fishery

02:10  01 october  2020
02:10  01 october  2020 Source:   cbc.ca

N.S. Mi'kmaq bands restock lobster traps after gear removed by non-Indigenous boats

  N.S. Mi'kmaq bands restock lobster traps after gear removed by non-Indigenous boats SAULNIERVILLE, N.S. — Mi'kmaq communities in Nova Scotia are restocking lobster traps for Indigenous harvesters after a flotilla of non-Indigenous fishing boats removed the gear from St. Marys Bay over the weekend. Rhonda Knockwood, the director of operations for Sipekne'katik First Nation, says about 350 traps were taken from their locations off southwestern Nova Scotia. Colin Sproul, of the Fundy Inshore Fishermen's Association, has said aboutRhonda Knockwood, the director of operations for Sipekne'katik First Nation, says about 350 traps were taken from their locations off southwestern Nova Scotia.

Mi ' kmaw fishermen gather in support of an Indigenous lobster fishery and licences that non-indigenous fishers oppose, calling it illegal. (Steve Lawrence/CBC). In LFAs 33 and 34, which run from Halifax to Digby and would include Sipekne'katik's fishery , the most recent combined annual landings

The fishermen say the Mi ' kmaw traps violate federal regulations. They were taken in a convoy of trucks to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans office in Decades later, there has been no agreement on how to regulate a moderate livelihood fishery in Nova Scotia, and now some Mi ' kmaw leaders are

Three Mi'kmaw parliamentarians are proposing a new approach to the conflict over the lobster fishery in Atlantic Canada that would bypass the system in use at Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

In a letter addressed to federal ministers and Indigenous leaders, Liberal MP Jaime Battiste of Nova Scotia, Progressive Sen. Brian Francis of Prince Edward Island and Independent Sen. Daniel Christmas of Nova Scotia call for the creation of an Atlantic First Nations Fisheries Authority.

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A Mi ' kmaw woman from Acadia First Nation has asked the RCMP to charge the Department of Fisheries and Oceans with theft for seizing lobster traps "DFO conducts these compliance activities to ensure that harvesters and buyers of Canada's fishery resources are compliant with the laws and

Arrests made after a group of non-Indigenous fisher boats circle in front of docked Mi ’ kmaw lobster fishery vessels.

They say the authority would allow First Nations to work directly with the Crown to set up new fisheries, instead of dealing with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on a band-by-band basis.

"It's a partnership approach rather than a paternal approach," Battiste told CBC News.

"That's what reconciliation is about. It's about moving forward together, hearing each other and figuring out how we can best find win-win, collaborative approaches to solving difficult situations."

Their suggestions come after Sipekne'katik First Nation launched its own Mi'kmaw-regulated, rights-based lobster fishery in St. Marys Bay, about 250 kilometres west of Halifax. It's believed to be the first of its kind in Nova Scotia.

In response, hundreds of non-Indigenous commercial fishermen confronted the Indigenous fishermen two weeks ago and removed Mi'kmaw lobster traps.

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The Mi ' kmaw fishery equals about two large commercial boats. (Nic Meloney/CBC). An Indigenous-run lobster fishery off the coast of southwestern The Mi ' kmaw harvesters point to a 1999 Supreme Court decision that affirms their treaty right to fish for a "moderate livelihood," though the second part

Arrests made after a group of non-Indigenous fisher boats circle in front of docked Mi ’ kmaw lobster fishery vessels.

"I just hope that we get this resolved and underway and we can mend the bridge that's there with the commercial fishermen ... in the area," said Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack, who welcomed the suggestions from parliamentarians.

"Hopefully, they know where we're coming from. We're not here to interfere, we're just here to make our presence and have a better life."

a man posing for the camera: Liberal MP Jaime Battiste of Sydney-Victoria in Nova Scotia got together with the only two other Mi’kmaq parliamentarians in Ottawa to pen a letter to federal ministers offering ideas on how to resolve the lobster conflict. © Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC Liberal MP Jaime Battiste of Sydney-Victoria in Nova Scotia got together with the only two other Mi’kmaq parliamentarians in Ottawa to pen a letter to federal ministers offering ideas on how to resolve the lobster conflict.

Battiste, Francis and Christmas call their idea to resolve the dispute a "fresh approach to implementing the Marshall decision" — a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada ruling in the case of Donald Marshall Jr.

That landmark decision affirmed the right of the Mi'kmaq to earn a "moderate livelihood" from fishing but did not explain how that fishery would work. The high court later said the federal government could regulate that fishery and must justify any restrictions it placed on it.

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Mi'kmaq lobster boats were up against Acadian commercial fishers on the weekend over the granting of modera Mi ' kmaw fishermen and their supporters gathered on a wharf in Saulnierville, N.S.. Thursday to launch their own Anishinabe Call for a Moose Hunting Moratorium in La Verendrye Park.

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"If the current system was fine, Mi'kmaw communities wouldn't be in poverty," Battiste said.

"If the current system was fine, we probably wouldn't have the violent clashes we were having on the water. We need someone to encourage dialogue and create incentives for dialogue."

Quotas may be needed

The parliamentarians acknowledge some Mi'kmaw and Maliseet communities may still prefer to assert their fishing rights on their own.

Although they say that approach is understandable, they warn it could lead to hostilities and government intervention. They say Ottawa may need to explore the possibility of implementing a catch quota for all fisheries.

"If the overall concern is conservation and the safety of industry and people are willing to take vigilante justice on this, then we have to do something, as a government, to keep people safe," Battiste said.

"While it's not our first option in this … we need people to know that this is something that we may need to explore."

The model that the parliamentarians are suggesting is based on the educational sectorial self-government agreement of Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey, which Battiste helped develop.

'Not a conservation concern': N.S. Mi'kmaq won't deplete lobster stock, says expert

  'Not a conservation concern': N.S. Mi'kmaq won't deplete lobster stock, says expert HALIFAX — An Indigenous-run lobster fishery off the coast of southwestern Nova Scotia isn't the big environmental threat that it's being made out to be, according to a fisheries expert. The contentious fishery started by the Sipekne'katik First Nation in St. Marys Bay isn't likely to make a dent in the stocks of the crustacean in the area, Megan Bailey, professor at Dalhousie University's Marine Affairs program, said in a recent interview. "TheThe contentious fishery started by the Sipekne'katik First Nation in St. Marys Bay isn't likely to make a dent in the stocks of the crustacean in the area, Megan Bailey, professor at Dalhousie University's Marine Affairs program, said in a recent interview.

Ways People Deal With Conflict . © Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD. There is no one best way to deal with conflict . It depends on the current situation. This approach sometimes raises new mutual needs. Collaboration can also be used when the goal is to cultivate ownership and commitment.

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The parliamentarians say their proposal would be optional for First Nations, so financial incentives might be required to encourage them to participate.

Battiste said their ideas were developed after discussions with MPs in Nova Scotia, First Nation chiefs, Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller.


Video: N.S. lobster dispute could have lasting consequences (cbc.ca)

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