Federal Government Recalls First Nations Fishing Rights

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The federal government recalls the fishing rights of the First Nations

The federal government recalls that non-native fishermen must respect the rights of fishermen natives.

A man near the wharf in Saulnierville, Nova Scotia, September 2020

First Nations people have the right to fish for certain limited purposes outside of federally regulated fishing seasons, says Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

Ministry officials held a technical briefing Monday with reporters on the Indigenous-led fisheries that have been launched in the Maritimes region for food, social and ceremonial purposes.

Indigenous-managed fisheries have led to tensions at sea over the past two years, as non-Native commercial fishermen have complained that the fisheries are operating without the proper permits.

Officials federal authorities seized lobster traps belonging to Aboriginal fishermen and a lobster pond was ransacked in the midst of a dispute over Aboriginal fishing rights.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada officers and lobster traps seized in November 2020 at the bay St. Mary's, Nova Scotia.

Fisheries Department Conservation and Protection Director Tim Kerr told reporters officers are being proactive in inspections vessels and equipment to ensure native fishers follow regulations and stocks are preserved.

Mr. Kerr warns that any destruction of gear or interference with a legal food, social and ceremonial fishery could result in fines of up to $100,000.

The Indigenous-managed lobster fishery in the St. Mary's Bay area in southwestern Nova Scotia is expected to begin later this month.

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