CAN - Year in Review: Nova Scotia Lobster Fishery Fight
HALIFAX – The pandemic may have dominated headlines globally but in the fall, a clash on Canada’s east coast stole some attention from COVID-19.
On Sept. 17, the Sipekne’katik First Nation launched a self-regulated lobster fishery outside the federally-regulated commercial fishing season.
The Mi’kmaq asserted their treaty right that they say allows them to fish when and where they want. Ottawa affirmed those rights a few days later.
On Sept. 18, two people are arrested on assault charges following confrontations between Mi’kmaq and non-Indigenous fishers on the wharf of the self-regulated fishery in Weymouth, N.S.
This was the beginning of a showdown that would spark solidarity rallies across the country.
Non-Indigenous fishermen protested the Indigenous fishers’ attempts to set lobster traps in St. Mary’s Bay during the off-season, pulling hundreds of traps set by Indigenous fishermen were pulled from the water.
Indigenous fishers were threatened, boats were burned.
One Acadian fisherman told the Canadian Press that the Mi’kmaq fishery could never be respected.
In Roger LeBlanc’s eyes, the Indigenous fishery must be regulated and occur alongside the roughly 80 to 90 commercial lobster harvesters that ply the bay from late November until the spring.