3rd Mi’kmaw community launches moderate livelihood fishery in N.S.

A third Mi’kmaw community has launched a moderate livelihood lobster fishery in Nova Scotia.

Chief Andrea Paul of the Pictou Landing First Nation made the announcement on social media Wednesday, posing with council members in a photo as she handed new tags to a fisherman.

The First Nation, which sits on the north shore of Nova Scotia on the Northumberland Strait, has also posted its full fisheries management plan online as well as a policy and protocols document.


Community members are licensed to operate in lobster fishing areas (LFAs) 26A and 26B within the Gulf of St. Lawrence region, with a maximum of 30 traps per individual.

There are no details in the plan on how many licences will be distributed, but it states that fishing and harvest conservation practices will be determined by the band council “based on community, science and co-management recommendations.”

The plan also states all livelihood fishing will be closed “during summer lunar cycles when lobsters molt in coastal waters.” During this time, all harvesters must remove all lobster traps from the water.

Lobster fishing areas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence region around the Maritimes. Pictou Landing fishery members will operate in LFAs 26A and 26B. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans)

The fishery will close from Dec. 14 to May 1, 2021, or the opening day of the commercial season. 

The commercial season in these areas opens April 30 and closes June 30 with the exception of two small sections that open in May and end in July, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

DFO numbers show there are 714 commercial licences in LFA 26A and 227 licences in LFA 26B. Trap limits range from 250 to 280 depending on one’s licence type and province.

Other livelihood fisheries

The Sipekne’katik First Nation was the first to launch a moderate livelihood fishery two months ago.

The fishery, on Nova Scotia’s southwest coast in St. Marys Bay, has faced tense and sometimes violent opposition by non-Indigenous commercial fishermen, many of whom argue the fishery will hurt lobster stocks if it falls outside of the federally regulated season.

On Oct.1, the Potlotek First Nation in Cape Breton launched a rights-based livelihood lobster fishery under its own management plan. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans confiscated more than 150 of the band’s traps nearly two weeks ago. 

Chief Terry Paul of the Membertou First Nation in Cape Breton has also said his community is planning its own livelihood lobster fishery, but did not offer a timeline.

The Mi’kmaq say they are going ahead on their own because it’s been 21 years since the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Donald Marshall Jr., which affirmed their right to earn a moderate livelihood from fishing.

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