Lawyer says First Nation to file lawsuits against N.S. government, commercial fishers

INDIAN BROOK, N.S. — A Mi’kmaq First Nation that encountered violence after launching a self-regulated lobster fishery is moving forward with multiple lawsuits against non-Indigenous fishers and federal agencies for alleged damages its harvesters have suffered.

Ron Pink, the lawyer for Sipekne’katik First Nation, says the legal actions will include a constitutional challenge targeting a Nova Scotia law that has prevented the band from selling its catch to potential buyers.

The lawsuit follows months of tension surrounding a fishery the band launched in September that harvests lobster outside the federally designated fishing season.

Sipekne’katik also plans to file legal actions against individual captains of commercial fishing boats for assault, battery and harassment, alleging their involvement in a series of events that included the burning of a Sipekne’katik band member’s van and the destruction of a lobster pound.

Pink says the first of the lawsuits will be filed starting in December, when the community plans to seek further protection following an injunction granted by the court last month to end interference with the fishery.

Sipekne’katik Chief Mike Sack also says the band is disappointed with the RCMP for failing to move quickly on an alleged assault against a woman, a member of Sipekne’katik community, and her daughter.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 12, 2020. 

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press

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