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

Sooke’s Paul Laroche gold snipes along Sooke River, a process in which he uses a mask and snorkel to find pieces of gold. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Hitting the jackpot: Sooke man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Laroche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

Felix Townsin, shown here with his sister, Lexi, who died on Oct. 19, 2019. Felix is a big part of a family initiative aimed at finding a cure for Blau Syndrome. (Photo contributed by the Townsin family)
Quest to cure Blau syndrome a family affair

John Stubbs student produces film for late little sister Lexi

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)
Newly public Emily Carr painting depicts well-known Victoria view

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Investigators seized sophisticated equipment including credit card embossers, credit card PIN machines, heavy duty printers and computers used to create fraudulent cards. (West Shore RCMP handout)
West Shore RCMP arrest two, find 1,000 pieces of stolen ID in Langford

Investigation began after fraudulent bank draft used to buy vehicle in Colwood

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

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 27

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

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

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

Cowichan Search and Rescue set up near the Silver Bridge in Duncan on Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, 2020 to rescue a dog from the Cowichan River. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Search and Rescue save dog from icy Cowichan River

Search and Rescue’s swiftwater team was called in

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