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Mi’kmaw vessels were met by up to 50 fishing boats from several non-Indigenous fishing communities (Photo: courtesy Andrew Vaughan CBC)

P.E.I. Mi'kmaq chiefs say they will launch a livelihood fishery after community consultation

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Wednesday, September 23, 2020, 14:00 (GMT + 9)

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

The chiefs of Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) two First Nations, Abegweit and Lennox Island, say they are in the first phases of community consultation over what launching a moderate livelihood fishery in the province may look like — regardless of whether they reach an agreement with Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

This comes after the Sipekne'katik First Nation launched its new self-regulated fishery in Saulnierville, N.S. last week. It was launched on Thursday, exactly 21 years after a landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling in the case of Donald Marshall Jr.

On Sept. 17, 1999, the court ruled that Marshall, charged with fishing eels outside of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans regulated season, was justified in doing so — under the 1760s Peace and Friendship Treaties.

The decision recognized the First Nations' right to earn a moderate living from fishing, but also comes with a limitation: the federal government retains the authority to regulate that fishery in the public interest and for conservation.

Tensions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers have been running high in Saulnierville since the Sipekne'katik First Nation launched their fishery.

Meanwhile, in P.E.I., the chiefs of both First Nations say they have also been looking for clarity on what a moderate livelihood means since the Marshall decision.

"We will launch a livelihood fishery," said Lennox Island First Nation Chief Darlene Bernard. "When we're going to do it, I don't know the answer to that, because I have to consult with my community.

"Regardless of what happens in the next weeks or months, we are going to continue to engage our community and we're going to have to put together our plan."

"It's not all of the sudden, you know, it's been ongoing for 21 years," said Abegweit First Nation Chief Junior Gould. 

"We're not being counterproductive and we're trying to be a part of the industry. We want to work with the industry to help us determine it. "(continued...)

Author: Nicola MacLeod / CBC News | Read the rest of the story by clicking the link here

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