Fire destroys another Nova Scotia lobster pound days before commercial season opens

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Nova Scotia fire investigators are combing through the burnt debris of a lobster warehouse that was destroyed in a fire Thursday night, more than a year after the same building was vandalized by an angry mob over a dispute over indigenous fishing rights. was broken during.

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The massive fire at the lobster plant in New Edinburgh, NS, outside Digby, could be seen several kilometers away and took about five hours for firefighters to put out. Flying embers forced the police to evacuate people from nearby homes in the rural community.

The Nova Scotia RCMP has handed its investigation over to the province’s fire marshal’s office, which is trying to determine the cause. An RCMP spokesman said it was too early to say whether investigators were treating the fire as suspicious.


No one was at the plant at the time, and no one was injured.

“There is nothing left of the building,” said Corporal Chris Marshall, a spokesman for the Nova Scotia RCMP. “It was completely destroyed – it’s under the foundation. They came in with an excavation and tore down the building because they couldn’t put the fire out completely.”

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Nova Scotia’s southwest coast has been the center of a sometimes violent conflict over the Sephactic First Nation’s efforts to operate its own commercial lobster fisheries outside of the federally regulated season.

Non-indigenous commercial fishermen, whose season begins Tuesday, have complained that growing Mi’kmaq bands are hurting lobster stocks, fueling a lucrative black market and disappointing prices for the prized crustacean. Huh.

Last fall, tensions boiled over. A group of fishermen began encountering Mi’kmaq boats on the water, cutting nets and ransacking the New Edinburgh plant, where indigenous fishermen were storing live lobster. A second plant in central west Pubnico, NS, was also attacked and later burned to the ground.

A 24-year-old man from Yarmouth County was charged with arson in connection with that fire. A string of suspected fires has also destroyed several boats owned by Mi’kmaq around the province. Last December, four people were arrested after a Mikamaw fisherman from the Pictou Landing First Nation on the Northumberland Strait was shot while trying to prevent people from stealing his net.

Sipeken’s head Mike Sack commented on the fire on Friday, other than to say that his band had recently stopped using the New Edinburgh plant.

“We are relieved to hear that it was empty during the fire,” he said in a statement. “It is always unfortunate when property damage occurs especially close to the season and holidays. Our thoughts are with all those affected.”

Chief Sack’s band, along with several other Mi’kmaq communities in Atlantic Canada, say they are exercising their right to fish outside of the federally regulated season as part of a “moderate livelihood” fishery – Supreme Court of Canada A right has been upheld by. more than two decades ago.

The court’s historic martial decision stated that East Coast First Nations could fish commercially to improve their economic condition, but later clarified that the federal government had the right to regulate that fishery in order to implement conservation measures. have the right.

Disagreements over that regulation have led to tense scenes over and off the water in Nova Scotia. Earlier this month, a 37-year-old man from Sipekenatica was arrested and charged after he allegedly chased and threatened fisheries officers patrolling St. Mary’s Bay with the Coast Guard .

However, some indigenous fishermen are trying to defuse the situation. This fall, four Mi’kmaq communities in Nova Scotia – Acadia, Annapolis Valley, Bear River and Glosscap First Nations – announced the launch of government-approved medium livelihood fisheries.

Those bands say they are cooperating with Fishing and Ocean Canada because they don’t want their fishermen to fear their gear and equipment could be confiscated.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Granthshala editors, giving you a brief summary of the day’s most important headlines. ,


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