37 Mi’kmaw Traps Seized Today in Livelihood Fishery
April 30, 2021
As Potlotek community authorized livelihood harvesters took to the waters today for opening day of the Spring 2021 season, a Potlotek Netukulimk Fishery Harvester had 37 lobster traps seized by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Conservation and Protection Officers in St. Peter’s Bay, LFA 29.
“We understand from Chief Wilbert Marshall of Potlotek that this harvester was authorized by his community and was fishing pursuant to his community’s Netukulimk Livelihood Fishery Plan,” said Chief Gerald Toney, Fisheries Lead for the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs. “Not only was the harvester in full accordance with community’s regulations, but the harvester was also fishing within DFO’s dictated commercial season”.
While answers are still been sought from DFO, through formal Consultation, for the decision to impose commercial seasons on Mi’kmaw livelihood harvesters, in this case, the Potlotek harvester was not only following their community Netukulimk Livelihood Plan, but in fact, also the limitations put in place by DFO.
“Our community’s Netukulimk Livelihood Fishing Plan is under consultation with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and the harvester was fishing pursuant to his Treaty Rights,” said Chief Wilbert Marshall, Potlotek First Nation. “This seizure is a failure of the Government of Canada to accommodate our Rights and a failure to uphold the Honour of the Crown.”
The Potlotek Plan is the same as the plan fished last fall, with minor changes, but Potlotek First Nation has been fully transparent with DFO in the development and sharing of their plan to implement their Treaty Right to fish and sell fish for a moderate livelihood, as recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada.
“The actions taken by DFO Conservation and Protection Officers on the water today are shameful and unlawful. Mi’kmaw harvesters exercising their Right to fish for a moderate livelihood, under community authority and pursuant to their community’s plan, have a Constitutional Right to do so. Today’s seizure is yet another step backwards for DFO,” said Chief Toney.