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Report Released On Ten Years Of Native Fishery Since Marshall Decision
September 17, 2009 – The Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs (APCFNC) today released the results of quantitative benchmark research to measure ten years of progress in the native fishery, since the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark decision giving native fishers the right to fish for a living and harvest fish commercially.“The Marshall Decision has affected the lives of our people and brought a sense of hope to our communities,” says APCFNC Executive Director John G. Paul.
On the whole, there has been measurable progress. The levels of First Nation-based expertise and capacity has grown exponentially to allow many to achieve equal or similar results and outcomes to non-native fishers across the region.
The report indicates that there are almost four times as many fishing licenses for First Nations. In 1999, there were 316 licenses. There are now 1,238. Over 1000 new jobs were created. These jobs, direct and indirect, are in harvesting (fishing and crew), processing and fisheries management. And there has been an increase of over $30 million in fishery related revenues. In 1999, annual fishing related revenues totaled $4.4 million. In 2009, that number is $35 million. The represents wages from fishing related jobs, as well as revenues from commercial fishing business ventures (licenses plants, etc).
“ It is a shame that the late Donald Marshall Junior, our Mi’kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy Treaty Hero, did not live to see the full implementation of the treaty, and to see the day when our fishery would be a rights-based fishery,” says Paul.
“ The full clear recognition of our treaty rights and the Supreme Court’s clear direction to Canada to provide access to our communities for a moderate livelihood has been helpful to most of our people, but not all our people and not all communities,” he said.
The report notes the significant drop in prices in certain key species, which has brought challenge to the fishery as well.
The APC of First Nation Chiefs is committed to growing this sector of the native economy in an economically sustainable way, which will lead to more opportunity for Atlantic Canadian First Nations people, especially youth.
John G. Paul, Executive Director
Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs Secretariat– a policy research organization that analyzes and develops culturally relevant alternatives to federal policies that impact on the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet and Passamaquoddy communities and peoples.
Download the Full Report
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