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Constitutional challenge in Indigenous lobster fishing case moving ahead this week – Cochrane Eagle

by ahnationtalk on November 30, 202338 Views

HALIFAX — An Indigenous fisherman is expected to appear Thursday in a northern New Brunswick courtroom, where he will launch a constitutional challenge that could prove pivotal for First Nations across the Maritimes.

Cody Caplin, a member of the Eel River Bar First Nation, was fishing for lobster in the Bay of Chaleur in September 2018 when he and his brother Kyle were arrested and their boat was seized by federal fisheries officers. A year later, they were charged with 10 fishing offences, including trapping lobster out of season.

Caplin says his brother eventually pleaded guilty to the charges, mainly because of the financial burden of going to trial. But Caplin has pressed on, claiming the Mi’kmaq have constitutionally protected Indigenous and treaty rights to fish and hunt to feed themselves whenever they want.

“If we win, we could set a precedent and make some case law for other Mi’kmaq fishermen throughout the province,” he said in a recent interview, confirming that constitutional arguments will be heard at the provincial court in Campbellton, N.B.

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