MI’KMAQ FISHERIES: More Information

Here is some more of what I heard and learned.

From Mi’kmaq people:

–      A Mi’kmaq fisher woman in Nova Scotia explained that the treaties say that we are allowed to make a “moderate income” from the fisheries, but there was no definition of “moderate Income livelihood”. The nations (Canada and the Mi’kmaq nation) need to sit down together and work this out. 

We have taught our people about the treaties over the past 20 years. Other local people (settlers) don’t know about the treaties and need to educate the children, neighbours, etc.

Some of the local people have helped us and apologized for the doings of others in the community.

She said that the Mi’kmaq fishers have received support from around the world, financially and physically. 

–      Robin Tress said the mega corporation Clearwater gets special treatment and makes its own rules about lobster trapping

She gave some figures that put the conflict into some perspective:

–      Clearwater is allowed 6500 traps on their boats
–      Typical owner operators have 400 traps on which is regulated by DFO
–      The Mi’kmaq have about 400 traps on their boat. (The Mi’kmag moderate livelihood fishing boat would have about 50 traps total).

She also notes that locals have rules from government, but Indigenous fishers have different rules based in treaty. More information at Canadian.org.

–      Trine Roach of Halifax said “We aren’t taking because we can, based on the Marshal decision. She is not surprised by conflict now.

–      Megan Bailey of Halifax said lobster trapping is done in season May to July for hard shell; soft shell in summer is okay. 

She also spoke of the need for treaty recognition and ceremony.

Local settler opinion was divided but everyone wanted the violence to stop:

–      A local man had a moment to say he was a supporter of the Mi’kmaq and loved the APTN and that Prime Minister Trudeau needs to act.

–      Fred Whorisly explained that in 2016 there was a dip in the amount of lobster. The stocks went up after that but have now been down for the past 2 years. It’s important to look at longer term trends, not just a single year.

He felt that there needs to be a single set of rules.

He added that it’s essential to stop the violence