Senate report says government must implement rights-based Indigenous fisheries

·1 min read

OTTAWA — A new report from the Senate is calling on the federal government to implement Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik and Peskotomuhkati rights-based fisheries on Canada's East Coast and overhaul its approach to negotiations.

One of the report’s 10 recommendations is that discussions with First Nations be immediately transferred to Crown-Indigenous Relations from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which is something Indigenous communities have been calling for.

The Senate's fisheries and oceans committee was asked to study the issue in February in response to violence that first erupted in southwest Nova Scotia in September 2020.

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

Local commercial fishers responded with anger, and the report says the public perception of what happened — including that of commercial fishers — was shaped by misinformation and contradictions that at times came from government.

The Senate says future work should be based on "true collaboration and a shared decision-making framework."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 12, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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