A timeline of Nova Scotia’s lobster conflict between Mi’kmaq and commercial fishers

Here’s a timeline of major events in the conflict between Mi’kmaq and non-Indigenous commercial fishers in southwest Nova Scotia.

Sept. 17: Sipekne’katik First Nation launches a self-regulated lobster fishery outside the federally regulated commercial fishing season. The Mi’kmaq are asserting their treaty right that they say allows them to fish when and where they want.

Sept. 18: Two people are arrested on assault charges following confrontations between Mi’kmaq and non-Indigenous fishers on the wharf of the self-regulated fishery in Weymouth, N.S.

Sept. 20: A group of non-Indigenous fishers remove traps set by the Sipekne’katik First Nation in St. Marys Bay, arguing the Mi’kmaq fishery is threatening lobster stocks.

Sept. 22: Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan and Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett affirm the Mi’kmaq have a constitutionally protected treaty right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood. Jordan had previously said commercial fisheries cannot exist outside the federally regulated season.

Oct. 14: A lobster pound in New Edinburgh, N.S. is ransacked while rocks are thrown and a vehicle is set on fire at another pound in Middle West Pubnico, N.S. RCMP say a total of about 200 people are present at both incidents.

Oct. 16: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls on local police to ensure the safety of people involved in the self-regulated fishery.

Oct. 17: A lobster pound in Middle West Pubnico holding the catch of Mi’kmaq fishers is destroyed by fire.

Oct. 19: Four cabinet ministers and the N.D.P. request an emergency debate in the House of Commons regarding the conflict between non-Indigenous and Mi’kmaq fishers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2020.

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