Mi’kmaq fishing rights, explained for the social impact sector

The ongoing terrorization of Mi’kmaq fishers by settlers in Nova Scotia is spiraling into a volatile situation.

Why It Matters

Systemic racism, economic inclusion, and the practice of Indigenous reconciliation are all at play here. The social impact sector cannot solve the core issue of the Mi’kmaq people’s treaty rights — and ongoing violence against their community. However, the sector could play a role in economic and cultural recovery.

What is the issue?

Fishers with Nova Scotia’s second-largest Mi’kmaq band, the Sipekne’katik First Nation, are setting lobster traps outside of the Canadian government’s commercial fishing season, which runs from late fall to late spring. The Sipekne’katik band launched their own independent fishery system in September that regulates who in the band is allowed to fish and sets conservation limits on how many lobster one fisher is allowed to harvest every season. Seven Indigenous fishers were given licenses in a ceremony and around 250 traps were set down by the end of the month. 

However, many non-Indigenous fishers are furious at what they consider to be a violation of federal law. They insist this In

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