Mi'kmaw fishers, Chief, react to news of arrests in lobster pound incident
MIDDLE WEST PUBNICO, N.S. -- On Oct. 13, Mi’kmaw fisher Jason Marr brought his catch to a lobster pound in Middle West Pubnico and a mob of commercial fishers formed outside.
"I got myself barricaded in the lobster pound here," Marr said.
Rocks were hurled, a vehicle was set on fire, and the building was raided.
Commercial fishers were upset that the Mi'kmaq fishers were setting lobster traps outside of the commercial lobster fishing season. They called on DFO stop them and some took matters into their own hands.
RCMP now say 21 people have been arrested.
"Hopefully charges come through for that," said Mike Sack the Chief of Sipekne'katik First Nation which was operating a moderate livelihood fishery at the time. "I’d like to see a lot more. You know there was hundreds of people at the wharf and at the pound and there just needs to be a lot more people held accountable."
After months of talks with DFO over its moderate livelihood plan— Sipekne'katik is now walking away from the table.
In a letter sent to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Chief sack wrote it's clear "DFO does not have the desire nor the ability to recognize and implement our Constitutional right."
"The MOU had DFO wanted to issue the license, which we had a problem with," Sack said. "They wanted to issue 10 which was a problem and they wanted each license to have 50 tags which was also a problem with us."
Sack says DFO wanted Sipekne'katik to fish during the commercial season, which includes winter, an option he says isn't possible because his fishers' boats are too small.
A few days after the Oct. 13 raid in Middle West Pubnico, the lobster pound burned down.
A man who police called a “person of interest” went to hospital with life threatening injuries.
On Friday, the RCMP would not confirm whether that person is still in hospital, but have since released a video of two people seen on surveillance nearby shortly after the fire began.
"As of this time we haven’t arrested anybody nor charged anybody in that arson event," said Nova Scotia RCMP spokesman Sgt. Andrew Joyce.