The federal Fisheries Department is issuing a reminder that First Nations peoples have the right to fish for certain limited purposes outside federally regulated fishing seasons.
Officials with the department held a technical briefing today with reporters about the Indigenous-run fisheries that have been launched across the Atlantic region for food, social and ceremonial purposes.
The Indigenous-run fisheries have led to tensions on the water over the past two years, as non-Indigenous commercial fishers have complained that the fisheries are operating without the proper licensing.
Federal officials have seized lobster traps belonging to Indigenous fishers, and a lobster pound at the centre of a dispute over Indigenous fishing rights has been ransacked.
Tim Kerr, director of conservation and protection with the Fisheries Department, told reporters that officers are being proactive with inspections of vessels and gear to ensure that Indigenous fishers are following regulations.
Kerr is warning that any destruction of gear or interference with a lawful food, social and ceremonial fishery could result in fines up to $100,000.
An Indigenous-run lobster fishery in the St. Marys Bay area of southwestern Nova Scotia is expected to begin later this month.
Fishermen outside of Halifax block road after seasons halted by DFO
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 11, 2022.
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