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Image: Submitted/Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Reopen elver fishery, say Wolastoqey chiefs

By Brad Perry May 1, 2023 | 6:17 AM

The six chiefs of the Wolastoqey Nation in New Brunswick are urging federal officials to reopen this year’s elver fishery.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans closed the fishery in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in April over conservation and safety concerns.

DFO said conflict within the industry had escalated to violence and threats, risking the safety of harvesters, the public and its officers.

The escalating conflict also constitutes a threat to the proper management and control of the fishery, the department said.

“We presented two viable options to resolve this matter, but the minister failed to commit to a timely response to our request, which we need to land the quota. It is clear she is operating without the benefit of solid scientific data on the species,” said Madawaska First Nation Chief Patricia Bernard.

Wolastoqey chiefs say they fished less than one-third of their 750-kilogram quota before the 45-day closure took effect on April 15.

If DFO will not reopen the fishery, the chiefs said they want the federal minister to find other ways of compensating Wolastoqey fishers.

“Many community members spent significant time and money on equipment and training to earn a modest income from this fishery, and then the season was called off early without any consultation. What does that say about DFO’s priorities?” said Tobique First Nation Chief Ross Perley.


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