Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative: Chiefs Working with Communities on Moderate Livelihood
Fishing has been a fundamental part of the Mi’kmaq way of life since time immemorial and in the 1999 Decision the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the Constitutional Right to earnMa rshallmoderate livelihood. Twenty-one years later, the federal government has neither established regulations for a moderate livelihood fishery, nor have they engaged the Mi’kmaq in formal consultation on developing regulations.
“We know our people are frustrated that they can’t yet earn a moderate livelihood from fishing, despite the Right being affirmed by the highest courts in the country,” said Chief Terrance Paul, Co-Chair and Fisheries Lead for the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs. “We are equally frustrated. We have been at the table for years fighting for movement from the federal government so that our people can have access to the waters and resources.”
Despite the lack of movement from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia are still moving ahead and working together to find solutions that best work for their communities.
Under the direction of the Chiefs, the Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office Fish Team has been working alongside communities to support their development of sustainable community livelihood fishery management plans – unique to their community while respecting the set of guiding principles reached by consensus by the Assembly. While the commercial industry harvests according to limits set by DFO, the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw communities are working to implement the Right to fish for a moderate livelihood in a manner that follows our traditional principle of Netukulimk.
“We have the right to self-government and that includes our right to govern our fisheries. We are developing our own sustainable livelihood fishery, separate from the Commercial fishery as we have a responsibility to protect our affirmed treaty right, and the court ruling. By working together, we will develop sustainable community fishing plans as this is important to our people today and to the sustainability of the resource for future generations,” said Chief Paul.
Additional information on the Assembly’s work on Moderate Livelihood can be found at www.livelihoodfishery.ca
For more information contact:
Crystal Dorey, Communication Manager
Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office
902-843-3880 [email protected]