Nova Scotia fishing vessel operator charged with unsafe operation, threats

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A Nova Scotia fishing vessel operator has been charged with multiple offences after an incident in St. Mary’s Bay at the end of October.

In a release, the RCMP said a fishing vessel began following a Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) vessel that was operating a platform for Fisheries and Oceans operations in the bay on Oct. 30.

“The fishing vessel crossed dangerously close to the bow of the CCG vessel, resulting in the captain of the CCG vessel having to take evasive action to avoid a collision,” it said.

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“The fishing vessel continued to follow and obstruct the CCG vessel as operations continued. The operator of the fishing vessel began threatening fishery officers who were aboard a smaller vessel that had been working in the same area with the CCG vessel.”

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Police say the operator continued to obstruct and threaten fishery officers and the CCG vessel ended up withdrawing from St. Mary’s Bay.

The release said the RCMP arrested a 37-year-old Indian Brook man without incident on Nov. 9. He faces six counts of obstructing a peace officer, uttering threats and dangerous operation of a vessel.

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The man, who was not named, was released on conditions and will appear in Digby Provincial Court on Jan. 14, 2022.

Indian Brook is a part of the Sipekne’katik First Nation, which has been involved in a decades-long fishing dispute over treaty rights in southwestern Nova Scotia.

In September 2020, the band launched a self-regulated lobster fishery outside the federally regulated season, which led to violence and the burning of a lobster pound that stored Indigenous catch.

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