Senate calls for fisheries policy overhaul based on Indigenous rights

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Senate calls for overhaul of fisheries policy based on aboriginal rights

Committee believes that First Nations should not have to negotiate directly with Fisheries and Oceans.

Des Native fishing boats head out to sea at St. Mary's Bay, one of Nova Scotia's most abundant lobster spots (archives).

A new Senate report calls on the federal government to establish Mi'kmaq, Wolastoqiyik and Peskotomuhkati rights-based fisheries on Canada's east coast and to review its approach to negotiations.

< p class="e-p">One ​​of the report's ten recommendations is that discussions with First Nations be immediately transferred from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to Crown-Indigenous Relations, which is what indigenous communities.

The Senate Fisheries and Oceans Committee was tasked with studying the issue in February, in response to violence that first erupted in southwestern Nova Scotia in September 2020.

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At the time, fishermen from the Sipekne'katik First Nation began fishing lobster outside of the DFO-regulated commercial fishing season, claiming that ;they had a treaty right to fish that was upheld by the Supreme Court's Marshall decision in 1999.

Local commercial fishermen reacted angrily, and the report says the public perception of what happened – including that of commercial fishermen – was shaped by misinformation and contradictions that sometimes came from the government.

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