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Sipekne'katik launched its self-regulated lobster fishery earlier this year and protests from some non-Indigenous fishers followed. Now Ottawa and the

N.S. First Nation, Ottawa nearing deal on lobster fishing rights

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Monday, November 30, 2020, 19:20 (GMT + 9)

The following is an excerpt from an article published by CBC News:

Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack says proposed memorandum of understanding a 'big step'

More than two months after a Nova Scotia First Nation launched a lobster fishery that has reignited a longstanding debate about fishing rights and regulations, the band says Ottawa has proposed a draft agreement that stands to be "a historic recognition" of their treaty rights.

Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack said the band received a draft memorandum of understanding Friday night from the office of federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan.

The First Nation has declined to share the entire contents of the memorandum, but Sack said the most important piece, for him, is that the document supports his community to harvest and sell its catch.

"We were pushing for that all along ... I think it's a pretty big step forward," Sack told reporters Sunday at the Saulnierville wharf in southwest Nova Scotia.

 

Sipekne'katik First Nation has been issuing licences and lobster trap tags to Mi’kmaw harvesters under the new self-regulated fishery since Sept. 17. (Nic Meloney/CBC)

The Marshall decision

The band argues that it has a right to operate a self-regulated fishery based on the Peace and Friendship treaties of the 18th century.

Those rights were upheld in a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada ruling known as the Marshall decision. But a subsequent ruling from the court said the fishery could be subject to federal regulation, if justified by issues of conservation.

More than two decades after the rulings, the implementation of those treaty rights remains a subject of debate. Sipekne'katik's potential agreement with the federal government could bring some clarity to the issue.(continued...)

Author: Taryn Grant / CBC News | Read the full article by clicking the link here

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