Ottawa affirms Mi’kmaq treaty rights in Nova Scotia lobster dispute

NOVA SCOTIA-Two people have been charged with assault and tensions are rising over a lobster fishery set up by the Sipekne’katik First Nation Thursday who issued its first licences. Tempers flared when a large crowd of non-indigenous lobster fishers turned up to disrupt the launch. See story page 3 (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)

SAULNIERVILLE, N.S.- The federal government is affirming the Mi’kmaq First Nation’s treaty rights in an ongoing dispute with non-Indigenous fishermen in southwestern Nova Scotia. Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan and Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett released a statement Monday saying the Mi’kmaq have a constitutionally protected treaty right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood. Non-Indigenous fishermen have been protesting the Indigenous fishers’ attempts to set lobster traps in St. Marys Bay during the off-season, which runs until the end of November. Some 350 traps set by Indigenous fishermen were pulled from the water by non-Indigenous fishermen over the weekend, continuing the long-standing conflict. Jordan and Bennett denounced what they said were the threats, intimidation and vandalism they had witnesses in southwestern Nova Scotia. The two ministers say they plan…

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