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N.S. Mi’kmaq chiefs demand stop of alleged federal plans to seize lobster traps

A Sipekne'katik First Nation community member holds a drum as he sits on lobster traps in Saulnierville, N.S. on Sunday, September 20, 2020.
A Sipekne'katik First Nation community member holds a drum as he sits on lobster traps in Saulnierville, N.S. on Sunday, September 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark O'Neill

HALIFAX — The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs is alleging the federal Department responsible for fisheries is planning to seize gear and traps from moderate livelihood lobster fisheries in the province.

The chiefs condemned the alleged action from Fisheries and Oceans Canada in a statement released Friday, demanding the seizure be aborted.

READ MORE: Sipekne’katik Chief says band will not fish in upcoming lobster season due to safety concerns

The assembly also says it’s concerned about the safety of Mi’kmaq fishers following a series of violent encounters and vandalism, including a fire that ravaged a lobster pound holding Mi’kmaq catch in Middle West Pubnico, N.S. earlier this month.

Federal departmental spokeswoman Jane Deeks said she could not comment on the allegations at this time.

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The assembly’s accusations followed an announcement from Chief Mike Sack, the leader of the Siepekne’katik First Nation, who called an emergency meeting on Friday to address the losses of Mi’kmaq fishers.

Click to play video 'Sipekne’katik First Nation chief set to meet with other Mi’kmaq chiefs' Sipekne’katik First Nation chief set to meet with other Mi’kmaq chiefs
Sipekne’katik First Nation chief set to meet with other Mi’kmaq chiefs – Oct 27, 2020

Sack said in a statement the First Nations’ commercial fishers have been hesitant to fish for fear of more violence and property damage.

The First Nation estimates financial losses from previous damage will come in at more than $3 million.