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Re: [metis] Burnt Church Rejects Lobster Fishery Proposal

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  • Gary Boivin
    In my opinion the Band Council in Burnt Church had better start thinking about conservation matters before the world community decides that they won t buy
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 2, 2001
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      In my opinion the Band Council in Burnt Church had better start thinking about conservation matters before the world community decides that they won't buy their product. Once they decide to not buy then there won't be a market and the fishermen from Burnt Church will be out of luck. The world community has never been known to change their minds.
       
      Lobster is not considered a poor man's food. It is usually eaten by folks that have money.... have power. These people normally will pay a premium to buy products produced by Natives... If these people decide that the Burnt Church fishermen are irresponsible then they will do like what the Europeans did to wood products from British-Columbia.
       
      Most Native bands that I know of have taken control of their resources and control it's depletion. We have to make sure that we still have these resources for our children. The Burnt Church Band Council has chosen not to impose it's own regulations. This demonstrates irresponsibility. Now I've read that the people of Burnt Church are demanding that they be able to take as many lobsters as they want but the Council has to take the responsibility and impose limitations on its people in order to ensure a future for its children.
       
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2001 3:08 AM
      Subject: [metis] Burnt Church Rejects Lobster Fishery Proposal

                                 Burnt Church rejects lobster fishery proposal
                                 Band vows to fish under own rules despite federal
                                 minister granting communal licence

                                 CHRIS MORRIS  Canadian Press
                                 BURNT CHURCH - The Burnt Church reserve has rejected a
                                 federal proposal for peace in the lobster fishery, setting the stage
                                 for another season of conflict on Miramichi Bay.

                                 Chief Wilbur Dedam and his band council said the federal offer
                                 was too limited and failed to respect aboriginal treaty rights to
                                 fish.

                                 "It remains the position of Burnt Church not to enter into an
                                 interim agreement as proposed by the federal government, but to
                                 fish under our own fisheries management plan," Dedam said
                                 yesterday.

                                 Federal Fisheries Minister Herb Dhaliwal said in a statement from
                                 Ottawa he is deeply disappointed that the Mi'kmaq reserve has
                                 turned its back on the federal proposal.

                                 "It is deeply regrettable that the Burnt Church First Nation has
                                 now withdrawn from dialogue and I hope this is not a sign that we
                                 are returning to another season of conflict," Dhaliwal said.

                                 In an effort to avoid the kind of violent confrontation that rocked
                                 the bay last year, Dhaliwal said he is issuing a communal licence
                                 for the reserve of 1,400, good until Oct. 20.

                                 While there were no details as to how many traps will be
                                 permitted, the minister said fishing will be allowed only in a limited
                                 area adjacent to the reserve. As well, the fishing is to be only for
                                 food, not for commercial sale. Any fishing beyond those
                                 restrictions would be illegal according to federal officials.

                                 The band has already rejected those limitations, complaining the
                                 area allowed for by the federal Department of Fisheries and
                                 Oceans does not contain sufficient lobster.

                                 Dhalwal said the restrictions will be enforced.

                                 "We will be vigiliant in enforcing both the fishing zone and the
                                 prohibition on commercial sale," he said.

                                 Dedam said the native community "is not closed to talks or
                                 discussions with the Fisheries Department concerning fisheries
                                 management.

                                 "But I must insist that we are opposed to signing any federal
                                 interim agreement which fails to respect our aboriginal and treaty
                                 rights," the chief said.

                                 The latest developments came just hours after non-native
                                 fishermen cruised into Miramichi Bay to remind authorities of
                                 their stake in the outcome of the conflict.

                                 Lucie Breau, who fishes with her husband in nearby Neguac, said
                                 commercial fishermen organized the flotilla of about 20 boats
                                 Sunday night to draw attention to their situation.

                                 "They touched nothing at all," Breau said.

                                 "They went on the water just to say, 'We are here. We're not
                                 dead.' This is a traditional fishery for us as well."

                                 Mi'kmaq fishermen at the Burnt Church reserve reacted angrily to
                                 the show of force by commercial fishermen.

                                 Native fishermen insisted a number of traps were cut, but the
                                 RCMP said they didn't see any damage being done.

                                 "Well, what do the cops think those fishermen were doing out
                                 there on a Sunday night, less than a kilometre from our shore -
                                 chasing herring?" said an angry James Ward, one of the
                                 architects of the band's own fisheries management plan.

                                 "How can anything good come from what those fishermen did?
                                 This is really setting the tone for future conflict."

                                 Ward said the band put up barricades at its two main entrances
                                 Sunday after it appeared the Mounties were sending in extra
                                 officers to surround the reserve.

                                 "We were basically under siege," he said.

                                 The barricades were no longer being enforced late yesterday
                                 afternoon. The RCMP maintained a heavy presence around Burnt
                                 Church, but did not go into the reserve.

                                 The non-native commercial fishermen want the federal Fisheries
                                 Department to step in and end the native fall fishery once and for
                                 all.

                                 Breau said the bay can't support two commercial fisheries: the
                                 authorized season in the spring and the unauthorized native
                                 fishery in the fall.

                                 "For three years we have been waiting for this to be settled," she
                                 said.

                                 "It's not just that we're frustrated. We feel like we have nowhere
                                 to turn."
       

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