2 more N.S. Mi’kmaq communities strike deals with Ottawa to set lobster traps

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Two Mi’kmaq First Nations have negotiated lobster fishing arrangements with Ottawa that authorize them to set a total of 3,500 traps during federally regulated fishing seasons off southwestern Nova Scotia.

Ottawa said today in a news release it had struck interim understandings with Bear River and Annapolis Valley First Nations that would allow the communities’ fishers to set 70 traps per vessel and to legally sell their catch.

The deals come following a similar arrangement in June with the Potlotek First Nation in Cape Breton, in which the federal Fisheries Department provided the community with licences to set 700 lobster traps.

The new fisheries announced today will occur in lobster fishing areas 33, 34 and 35, and they will take place during the commercial season.

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Ottawa says the Acadia and Glooscap First Nations also participated in the discussions and may request to take part in fishing this season under the same agreement.

Tensions remain, however, between Ottawa and fishers from Sipekne’katik First Nation, who have said government officers have been seizing traps set under the community’s self-regulated fishery off southwest Nova Scotia.

The commercial season in area 35 begins on Thursday and goes until the end of the year. It starts again on Feb. 28 until midsummer. The fisheries in areas 33 and 34 run from Nov. 29 until May 31, 2022.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 13, 2021.

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