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Lobster boats in Yarmouth Bar on the morning of Dumping Day. (Acadia News Photo)

Fishing associations withdraw support for DFO/First Nation understanding

By News Nov 30, 2023 | 3:16 PM

Some fishing associations say DFO deceived them about a moderate livelihood understanding.

They’re withdrawing support for the understanding between the department and 4 First Nations in Southwest Nova Scotia.

Colin Sproul with the Bay of Fundy Fishermen’s Association says their support was based on moderate livelihood fishing being solely for Indigenous harvesters.

“Recently, it’s been revealed to fishery leaders in Nova Scotia that the access is being stacked onto commercial licenses, with the presence of non-Indigenous people on boats. We are left shocked, and outraged by that,” said Sproul.

Sproul says it’s outrageous that the department would pivot away from that policy, and go back on their word to fishery leaders.

He says they support Treaty fishing, but it has to be done with sustainability in mind.

“They changed the terms of the agreement by adding more access without any need for it, and now they are allowing the stacking of the access with non-Indigenous people on board. It’s a no-go for fishers in Southwestern Nova Scotia.”

Sproul calls it a bad deal for their members and Indigenous fishers who want to exercise their rights.

We’ve reached out to DFO for comment.

An ‘interim authorization’ was renewed on November 20th between the Department and the Acadia, Glooscap, Bear River and Annapolis Valley First Nations.

DFO said it allows community members to harvest fish for sale during the commercial fishing seasons in LFA 33 and 34, and helps create jobs and economic growth in First Nations communities.

A release from 4 fishing associations in Southwest Nova Scotia (Contributed)