October 21, 2020
Ocean Wise supports Mi’kmaq harvesters in their right to fish and we are deeply saddened to have watched the situation in Nova Scotia escalate over the past weeks to include the damage of gear and private property, spoiling of catch, and racism. Mi’kmaq harvesters have a right to access the marine resources in this country without fear of intimidation or violence.
The “right to harvest fish, wildlife, wild fruit and berries to support a moderate livelihood for the treaty beneficiaries” was enshrined in the Treaties of Peace and Friendship signed between the Governor of Nova Scotia and local Mi’kmaw, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy Nations between 1760-1761i. This right was codified in Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution in 1982, and later reaffirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada in the 1999 Marshall Decision. The right to harvest fish is further reiterated in Article 4 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)ii.
We sincerely hope access to fishing in Canada can be shared peacefully going forward, and managed using the best available science and Traditional, Local, and Indigenous knowledge to ensure abundant harvests can continue to benefit generations to come.
Cover image screenshot and article: https://www.aptnnews.ca/topic/fishing-rights/?fbclid=IwAR0kxtR9Bc1LnmPojRkEUtAaUOX1FJU5V2FvMBOt1uN_ogA-6-f2QZ-L1uA
Image 1: SunDre87 from Getty Images, Canva
Image 2: Jupiterimages from Photo Images, Canva