N.S. Mi'kmaq bands restock lobster traps after gear removed by non-Indigenous boats

Lobster battle heats up

Mi'kmaq communities in Nova Scotia are restocking lobster traps for Indigenous harvesters after a flotilla of non-Indigenous fishing boats removed the gear from St. Marys Bay over the weekend.

Rhonda Knockwood, the director of operations for Sipekne'katik First Nation, says about 350 traps were taken from their locations off southwestern Nova Scotia.

Colin Sproul, of the Fundy Inshore Fishermen's Association, has said about 100 non-Indigenous boats removed the gear of the Mi'kmaq fishermen and took it to a wharf in Meteghan on Sunday.

Sproul says the action was necessary because the federal Fisheries Department wasn't enforcing its regulations prohibiting out of season fishing.

The First Nation says its people have a treaty right to fish outside of the regular season, 21 years after a landmark Supreme Court of Canada case confirmed a Mi'kmaq man's right to fish for eels at times and locations of his choosing.

Knockwood says after the traps are replenished by Mi'kmaq communities, the Indigenous fishermen will resume working when it is safe on the waters.

She says the projected arrival of hurricane Teddy over the region in the coming days will mean Indigenous fishermen will seek shelter until weather conditions have calmed.

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