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Trouble brewing ahead of start to Nova Scotia fall lobster season: Indigenous leader

Last Updated Nov 26, 2020 at 11:48 am PST

Indigenous lobster boats head from the harbour in Saulnierville, N.S. on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. Tensions remain high over an Indigenous-led lobster fishery that has been the source of conflict with non-Indigenous fishermen. THE CANADIAN PRESS /Andrew Vaughan

HALIFAX — The Indigenous leader at the centre of a dispute over Nova Scotia lobster says the recent seizure of lobster traps in St. Marys Bay by federal officers could lead to trouble on the water next week.

Chief Mike Sack of the Sipekne’katik First Nation says Indigenous fishers who lost traps last weekend and yesterday will replace them by taking the traps of commercial fishers when the fall season opens Monday in southwestern Nova Scotia.

Sack says the seizures by Fisheries Department officers have undermined negotiations with Ottawa aimed at establishing a moderate livelihood fishery that will operate outside the federally regulated season. 

A spokesman for the fisheries officers said today about 500 traps were pulled from the water last weekend, and he confirmed that some of them were moderate livelihood traps.

Todd Somerville, director of conservation and protection, says the status of the moderate livelihood fishery is still subject to talks with Ottawa, but he made it clear that officers consider the fishery an unlicensed and illegal enterprise.

The opening of the fall season on Monday is known as Dumping Day, which signals the start of Canada’s largest and most lucrative lobster fishery.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26. 2020.

The Canadian Press