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

The River Forecast Centre is maintaining a flood watch for the area, including the Bella Coola River and tributaries, Kingcome River, Owikeeno-Rivers Inlet, and surrounding areas.
Wuikinuxv under evacuation order, more rain in forecast

Bella Coola’s Hill has re-opened but road conditions are muddy and wet

One person was killed in a two-vehicle crash south of Williams Lake on Highway 97 Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (Photo submitted)
Highway 97 crash south of Williams Lake claims one life

Road conditions at the time were slippery and covered with slush: RCMP

Highway 20 is closed from the top Avalanche gate to the bottom Avalanche gate as of 19:30 on Tuesday October 27, 2020 (WL Tribune photo)
Rockslide closes the Hill as rain pours down in Bella Coola

Bad weather has resulted in rockfall on the Hill on Highway 20

The River Forecast Centre is issuing a Flood Watch for the Central Coast including Bella Coola River (file photo)
Flood watch issued for Bella Coola River

The River Forecast Centre is issuing a Flood Watch for the Bella Coola River

Two of the three grizzly cubs that were relocated to Smithers after their mother was killed (Caitlin Thompson photo)
Bella Coola residents urged to secure attractants after two sow grizzlies killed

One sow was a mother to three cubs of the year, which have been transported to Smithers

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read