Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq chiefs say Ottawa's new fisheries plan unacceptable

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HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaq chiefs say Ottawa's new plan to regulate Indigenous moderate livelihood fisheries is an attempt by government to control something that isn't under its mandate.

Chief Gerald B. Toney of the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs said today the Mi’kmaq’s constitutionally protected right to fish shouldn't be driven by industry or the federal government.

Toney was reacting to a new plan by Ottawa that would allow moderate livelihood fishing activity during the commercial season through licences issued under the Fisheries Act, though the total amount of fishing in the country’s waters wouldn’t increase.

Nova Scotia Sen. Daniel Christmas also disagrees with the new plan, saying it’s untrue that moderate livelihood fisheries pose a conservation threat to lobster stock.

Premier Iain Rankin says his province is ready to issue buyers licences for Mi'kmaq catch once Mi'kmaq First Nations reach a deal with Ottawa.

Mi’kmaq fishers say a 1999 Supreme Court decision affirms their right to fish for a “moderate livelihood” outside the federally regulated season.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press