Weather delays Dumping Day again in southwest Nova Scotia
HALIFAX -- For a fifth day in a row, weather has delayed Dumping Day in southwest Nova Scotia.
While the waters have been rough on the coast of Saulnierville, N.S., the mood is calmer than it has been in recent weeks.
The area has been a flashpoint in a two-and-a-half month dispute between commercial and Miꞌkmaq fishers -- a dispute that has seen clashes between the two sides, fires set, and traps hauled.
Sipekne’katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack, who once called for retaliation, instead called for peace on Thursday.
“Such a rough job, that commercial industry is anyway, I do wish them well,” said Chief Sack. “I wish them safety. You know, I’ve got nothing against them. We’ve had some issues there, but save some lobsters for us next summer.”
Sipekne’katik is reviewing a draft of a memorandum of understanding, sent by Ottawa last week, to address its moderate livelihood fishery plan.
Commercial fishers say they’re feeling anxious to hit the water and learn details of the memo.
“Definitely would be very curious to find out how it’s going to affect us,” said fisher Cindy Comeau on Thursday. “Because it’s definitely going to.”
Comeau says things are calm, for now.
“There hasn’t been any kind of conflict,” she said. “There’s been no words back and forth. We’re actually able to go down and drive around on their wharf now.”
There is still hope for a Saturday dumping day, if the weather co-operates. For now, fishers are holding tight.
“You know, it’s safety first,” said Patrick Melanson, a fisherman in Saulnierville. “You have to listen to what DFO says.”
Chief Sack adds that Sipekne’katik fishers intend to keep fishing in the area, weather permitting. He says their fishers have 50 tags, while commercial licences in the area allow for over seven times that number.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Coast Guard, and Environment Canada are scheduled to meet late Friday afternoon to decide if weather on Saturday will be suitable for Dumping Day.