Robert Syliboy’s lobster fishing boat is shown after being destroyed by a fire in this Monday, Oct. 5, 2020 handout photo. A lobster vessel belonging to a Mi’kmaq fisher has been destroyed by a suspicious fire at a wharf in southwestern Nova Scotia, near waters where a self-regulated Indigenous fishery is underway. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Robert Syliboy

Robert Syliboy’s lobster fishing boat is shown after being destroyed by a fire in this Monday, Oct. 5, 2020 handout photo. A lobster vessel belonging to a Mi’kmaq fisher has been destroyed by a suspicious fire at a wharf in southwestern Nova Scotia, near waters where a self-regulated Indigenous fishery is underway. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Robert Syliboy

Nova Scotia calls on Ottawa to define a ‘moderate livelihood,’ as fishing dispute boils over

A lobster pound was burned to the ground Saturday, destroying the lobster catch of Mi’kmaq fishers

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil is urging Ottawa to define what constitutes legal harvesting in a “moderate livelihood” fishery, after a dispute about Indigenous fishing treaty rights boiled over this weekend.

McNeil issued a statement on Twitter saying the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans needs to answer the question of what a moderate livelihood looks like before the province can examine its own rules for fish buyers.

He says Nova Scotia’s regulations rely on the federal department’s authority and responsibility to manage the fishery and identify what constitutes legal, licenced fisheries.

McNeil says the province is working with Ottawa to find a facilitator to “bring the sides together,” adding that the way to resolve the issue is through respectful dialogue.

His comments come after multiple acts of violence against the Indigenous fisheries in southwestern Nova Scotia.

A lobster pound in Middle West Pubnico, N.S., was burned to the ground early Saturday, destroying the lobster catch of Mi’kmaq fishers.

Earlier in the week, two clashes involving hundreds of people took place outside lobster pounds that store Indigenous-caught lobster.

The Mounties have made two arrests in relation to the incidents, with one man charged with assault against a local Indigenous chief and another man charged with arson.

In response to the escalating violence, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has approved a request by Nova Scotia’s Attorney General to step up the RCMP presence in the region in an effort to keep the peace.

Chief Mike Sack of the Sipekne’katik First Nation said he is grateful for the additional policing and law enforcement resources.

But he said some of the “damage, destruction, racist behaviour, harassment and intimidation” could have been avoided had repeated requests for a greater police presence been addressed more promptly.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is “appalled by the acts of violence, intimidation, and destruction taking place in Nova Scotia.”

“The perpetrators will be held accountable,” he said Saturday on Twitter, noting that Ottawa has approved the request to provide more policing support. “We’re focused on keeping people safe.”

The Supreme Court of Canada issued a landmark ruling in 1999 that said the Mi’qmaq and Maliseet people of Atlantic Canada and Quebec have a right to earn a “moderate livelihood” from fishing.

READ MORE: Indigenous fishers in Nova Scotia have lobster taken, van burned as tensions heighten: chief

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

fishingIndigenousNova Scotia

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Former Vernon Kokanee Swim Club member Savannah King, a two-time Olympian and four-time Canadian university swim team champion, is an assistant coach with Montreal’s McGill Redbirds. She has been accepted into an apprentice coaching program with Canadian U-Sports. (Photo submitted)
Former Vernon swimmer earns apprentice nod

Savannah King named one of 18 former athletes to U-Sports Female Apprentice Coach program

Residents at Vernon's Chartwell Carrington Place received letters from local high school students as part of a pen pal project Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon students connect with seniors the old-fashioned way

Grade 12 student Alex Murphy set up a pen pal project as a way to break through COVID-19 isolation

Twin sisters Kyla, left, and Jordyn Bear have accepted scholarships to play at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York for this upcoming fall. The 17-year-olds dream of playing together for Canada in the Olympics one day. (Jesse Johnston/CP photo)
Lake Country twins inspire Indigenous hockey players

Grade 12 George Elliot Secondary students Kyla and Jordyn Bear earn hockey scholarships at NCAA Division 1 school

Reid Crow practices slacklining in Rutland Lions Park. (Image - Rick Methot)
Man’s meditation practice brings positivity to Kelowna park-goers

Reid Crow was spotted slacklining in the park on Wednesday

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about the province’s COVID-19 vaccine plans during a news conference at the legislature in Victoria. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
P.1 variant likely highest in B.C. due to more testing for it: Dr. Henry

Overall, just under 60% of new daily cases in the province involve variants

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The administrative headquarters for Central Okanagan Public Schools in Kelowna. (File photo)
COVID-19 exposures identified at four Central Okanagan Schools

Cases of exposure at Central Okanagan schools have grown over the course of the month.

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The plane blasted through an airport fence and down a hill, before stopping before a cement barrier on Highway 5A, right in front of a school bus. Photo submitted.
Student pilot crashes plane onto Highway 5A in Princeton

Aircraft hit pavement right in front of school bus

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

Most Read