Halifax – When Jaime Batiste In its early 20s, cable news channels were filled with images of Mickmac fishermen in New Brunswick, battling federal fisheries officials over seized lobster nets.
Now, Canada’s first Mickmac MP is inside the federal power, trying to help launch an indigenous lobster hunt at St. Mary’s Bay in Nova Scotia.
“20 years ago, I wondered if they ever thought they would have two Micmac senators and one Micmac MP, they could help work with the government for a solution,” the Liberal MP said in a recent interview from his Cape Breton Riding.
Compared to the clashes at Burnt Church, NB, in Miramichi Bay between 1999 and 2002, some observers see his role as a gradual increase in Mickmack’s political influence.
Curtis Bartibog, a Mickmac lobster fisherman who was arrested by Fisheries and Oceans Department officials during an earlier unrest, said public knowledge of contract rights was inadequate, but governments were reluctant to bring enforcement repression.
“There is now a very big difference between government and domestic relations because of the ability to have our voices in government,” he said in an interview Friday from his community, now known as Esjenopetz First Nation.
He has been following closely recently Cipeknecotic first country On September 17, Southwest Nova issued five lobster licenses at Salnierville Wharf in Scotia.
Native lobster traps removed from Nova Scotia waters
Like Eszenopetiz, the Nova Scotia Association stated in a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision that Donald Marshall Jr. had a contractual right to fish for eels whenever and wherever he wished, without a license.
Marshall’s decision Mickmack, Maliseet and Pasamaquodi groups can hunt, fish and collect to earn a “moderate livelihood”, although the court followed a clarification two months later, stating that the agreement was subject to federal control.
As with previous crises, opposition from non-native fishermen is based on claims that first countries must adhere to Ottawa’s conservation measures, and that fishing outside the season is illegal.
Hundreds of non-native fishermen gathered for protests in Wharfs after the announcement of the new Nova Scotia Fisheries earlier this month, after a flotilla pulled 350 micmac traps out of the water.
However, the reaction from Ottawa followed a different pattern in the early 2000s.
Senators Don Christmas and Brian Francis from Lennox Island First Nation released a letter stating that Mickmack has contract rights to hunt, fish and earn a modest livelihood.
Minister of Fisheries Bernadette Jordan And Minister of Home Affairs Caroline Bennett In a September 21 statement they said they would not tolerate vigilante action on the water, saying “there is no room for threats, intimidation or vandalism.”
Controversial lobster fishing controversy in Nova Scotia
As of Friday, Mike Sack, chief of Sypnekotic First Nation, confirmed this week that he was in talks with Jordan and her officials on defining what would be the moderate livelihood fisheries of his community.
And First Nation’s boats continued fishing.
Meanwhile, seniors Batiste and Mickmack met Friday at the Membership First Nation in Cape Breton and held online talks with Jordan and Bennett.
Advocate Batiste, who has taught university courses on domestic contracts, advocates the concept of co-managed fishing systems, Mickmac representatives said directly in the regulations. “It could be the Canada-Mickmack Fishing Authority. I don’t know if federal law is necessary, ”he said.
It remains to be seen how effective the 41-year-old MP’s views will be.
Naomi Metallic, chair of tribal law and policy at Dalhousie University, said a negotiated settlement recognizing contract rights was needed and “played an important and meaningful role in the micmac management of their own fisheries.”
She said the DFO response was an initiative to issue trade licenses to certain Mickmac communities willing to participate, but it did not address the issue of a moderate subsistence fishery under domestic control.
“Canada was dragging and dragging its feet at the negotiating table and people were fed up,” she said.
Bartibog, who now holds a commercial license, said his association had accepted DFO licenses after several years of wars, but continued to press for further regulation.
Cipeknecotic First Nation says fishermen have been denied the right to fish
He estimated that his community had completed a two-week “treaty fishery” where 500 traps of up to సుమారు 20,000 were set for a total lobster catch.
“We basically liked what they were doing in St. Mary’s Bay …. we just finished yesterday and it stopped so well,” he said.
Batiste does not speculate on how big the moderate subsistence fishing is for his people.
“We will work with the government to determine what is possible.” At the end of the day, hostility cannot continue on water that is burning like this, ”he said.
This report of the Canadian Press was first published on September 27, 2020.
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