October 24th, 2020

Indigenous lobster fishery presses ahead despite confrontations in Nova Scotia


By The Canadian Press on October 15, 2020.

Members of the Sipekne'katik First Nation head from the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching their own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. A First Nations chief says his band's self-regulated Indigenous lobster fishery will press ahead today despite opposition from non-Indigenous commercial fishers that erupted in threats and violence this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

DIGBY, N.S. – A First Nations chief says his band’s self-regulated lobster fishery in Nova Scotia will press ahead despite opposition from non-Indigenous commercial fishers that erupted in threats and violence this week.

Chief Mike Sack of the Sipekne’katik First Nation is expected to hold a news conference today after angry mobs damaged two facilities that handle lobster catches from Mi’kmaq fishers on Tuesday night.

The non-Indigenous protesters have said they are opposed to a decision by the First Nation to start a commercial lobster fishing business that has operated outside the federally regulated lobster season since mid-September.

Sack has argued that Indigenous people in Atlantic Canada and Quebec have a treaty right to fish where and when they want, based on a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision that affirmed that right.

Meanwhile, the chief is asking his people not to react to the latest incidents and to avoid violence, saying he wants them “to take the high road.”

RCMP have confirmed that about 200 people were present at two violent clashes Tuesday outside lobster pounds in New Edinburgh and Middle West Pubnico.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 15,2020.

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