We’koqma’q First Nation joining Potlotek First Nation in fishing in pursuit of a moderate livelihood
From: Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia – Building on the renewed understanding with Potlotek First Nation reached last month, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has reached an understanding with We’koqma’q First Nation that will see their members fishing jakej (lobster) in pursuit of a moderate livelihood and selling their catch in accordance with an amendment to We’koqma’q’s and Potlotek’s amended Netukulimk Livelihood Fisheries Plan and supported by a DFO-issued authorization. The plan was developed by the community with collaboration from Potlotek First Nation, the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs and Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office (KMKNO).
We’koqma’q harvesters designated under Potlotek and We’koqma’q’s amended Netukulimk Livelihood Fisheries Plan and supported by the DFO authorization will fish during the established 2022 commercial seasons in Lobster Fishing Areas (LFAs) 27 and 31A with a trap limit of 210 in each. These LFAs are within the Unama’ki District where We’koqma’q and Potlotek are located.
To provide access for We’koqma’q’s participation in the commercial lobster fishery without increasing overall effort, fishing access was offset by using existing banked licences and unfished traps across the entire Unama’ki District. The department remains committed to negotiating these understandings through the willing seller-willing buyer model.
“Consistent, sustainable and collaborative fisheries arrangements are critical to achieving reconciliation and implementing treaty rights. I thank We’koqma’q, Chief Bernard-Daisley, KMKNO and all harvesters for their partnership throughout the discussions. I remain committed to reaching these understandings together, while ensuring the fishery remains sustainable and prosperous for all Cape Bretoners by not increasing fishing effort.”
The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
“I wish We’koqma’q harvesters a safe and successful fishing season, and I want to thank Chief Bernard-Daisley for her collaboration throughout the discussions. This understanding recognizes the community’s right to fish for a moderate livelihood while ensuring the conservation of species all Cape Breton relies on. I look forward to our continued work together.”
Mike Kelloway, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-Canso
- Fishing has been authorized and LFAs 27 and 31A are currently open. The season dates are as follows:
- LFA 27: May 15 – July 15
- LFA 31A: April 29 – June 30
- In the LFAs where designated harvesters are authorized to fish under this arrangement, lobster stocks are all considered to be in the Healthy Zone.
- Since the Supreme Court of Canada Marshall decisions, DFO has taken a number of steps to implement the right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood. The Department uses an array of program and tools, such as the Marshall Response Initiative, the Atlantic Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative, the current Rights Reconciliation Agreement process and Moderate Livelihood Fish Plans, to support implementation of the treaty right. Consideration is given to factors such as a community’s existing communal commercial access, size of community and the characteristics of the area they want to fish.
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Fisheries and Oceans Canada