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

Just Posted

Candice Woloshyn prepares her flower beds for the next season at her ‘Dirty Girl Flowers’ farm in Merville. Despite the pandemic, Woloshyn was able to sustain her homegrown business as community members opted for regular deliveries of fresh cut flowers. Photo by Binny Paul/ Campbell River Mirror.
Vancouver Island flower farmers were blooming as the pandemic wilted everything else

Floriculturists saw increased subscriptions as fresh flowers became a ‘sight for sore eyes’ during isolation

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

View Royal Coun. John Rogers stands next to an unearthed home heating oil tank. As a way to prevent environmental disasters, he is lobbying for a provincial registration system and mandatory inspection for all above-ground tanks, as well as a requirement to remove any underground tanks not used for a prescribed period of time. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Efforts to regulate Greater Victoria home heating oil tanks continues

View Royal councillor part of movement to identify old tanks, prevent catastrophic leaks

International Bat Week (Oct. 24-31) is a time for people to learn more about the nocturnal creatures and how to protect them. (Photo by Cory Olson)
Holy Halloween, it’s Bat Week!

Bats have been getting a bad rap — B.C. Bat Program looks to change that

Wind and waves were part of the reason why the Sail Canada High Performance Team selected HMCS Quadra as the winter training base for Tokyo 2021. Photo by Ken Dool
National sailing team prepares for Olympics at Vancouver Island location

Sail Canada picks military facility at 19 Wing Comox for wind, waves and accommodations

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Kelowna City Hall has been vandalized overnight. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna City Hall hit by anti-pandemic vandalism

Graffiti condemning the virus appears overnight on City Hall

FILE – A woman smokes a marijuana joint at a “Wake and Bake” legalized marijuana event in Toronto on October 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Home nurse visits could play big role in reducing cannabis use, smoking in young mothers

The program, dubbed the BC Healthy Connections Project, involves public health nursing home visits

Emergency crews respond to an apartment fire on Tuesday, Oct. 20. (PHOTO COURTESY JERRY FEVENS)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate possible arson

Fire was contained but three people displaced in aftermath

Graham Hughes, front, who ran as an independent candidate in the B.C. provincial election, sits with half a dozen supporters in front of Our Home on Eighth shelter, where Hughes is protesting the way homelessness has been dealt with in Port Alberni, on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Protesters occupy Port Alberni’s shelter

Former election candidate leads sit-in outside to protest homelessness

Jordan Jay Ward, 20, is wanted Canada-wide for manslaughter. (Calgary police photo)
UPDATE: ‘Suspicious’ man seen in Parksville woods not manslaughter suspect

Hikers say he resembled Jordan Jay Ward, wanted Canada-wide

The ‘new normal’ for hockey parents in Chilliwack and elsewhere in B.C., watching their kids from outside of the arena due to COVID-19 protocols. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack hockey parents petition to be let back in the arena

Refused access due to pandemic protocols, parents are now applying pressure to loosen the rules

Most Read