CANADA AGREES ON AUTUMN LOBSTER FISHERY
Canada agrees on autumn lobster fishery
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has reached an agreement with the Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government (LMG) to authorize a short commercial lobster fishing season to help provide the community more flexibility in undertaking its fishing activities.
A licenced fall commercial lobster fishery will take place in Lobster Fishing Area 21B, the area in which LMG has traditionally conducted both its spring commercial lobster fishery and its fall food, social and ceremonial (FSC) lobster fishery for the past two decades. This commercial fishing season will give licence holders, including LMG, the right to sell product caught during the fall season. All LFA 21B commercial licence holders, non-Indigenous and Indigenous alike, will have the opportunity to fish during this fall commercial season. Harvesters can choose to participate or not, and the same licence conditions will apply to all participants.
This short fall commercial fishing season will not increase the annual authorized fishing effort in LFA 21B, and the total number of trap days will not be increased. To ensure this, the maximum allowable effort in LFA 21B will be spread between the fall and spring fishery, distributed at the choice of licence holders.
A catchability factor of seven will be applied to the calculation of the fall fishing effort, which takes into account the fact that lobster is more easily caught in the fall than in the spring. This means that for each authorized trap day a license holder fishes in the fall, seven trap days will be deducted from the fishing effort authorized during the following spring season.
Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, said: “Working in partnership, Canada and the Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government are implementing a collaborative fisheries management plan for this community. It is a sustainable plan that does not increase fishing effort, it meets the needs of the Listuguj people, and it operates within the established commercial fisheries framework. This is the Rights Reconciliation process in action, and reflects what we can achieve when we work nation-to-nation toward a shared goal.”
Chief Darcy Gray, Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government, said: “I am very pleased that Canada is taking this step to recognize the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation’s treaty right to sell our fall lobster catch. We look forward to continuing to work with Canada in implementing our Rights Reconciliation Agreement on Fisheries, exercising our rights of self-determination and self-government, and assuming greater control of the management of our fisheries.”
- On April 16, 2021, Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government (LMG) and Canada concluded the Rights Reconciliation Agreement on Fisheries (RRA), which set the base for a collaborative management approach between LMG and Fisheries and Oceans Canada and provided a framework for operational discussions on fall lobster fishing.
- The five-year renewable RRA on Fisheries addresses areas of mutual interest, and helps foster improved relationships with the Listuguj Mi’gmaq community. It also establishes a co-developed and collaborative approach to fisheries governance.
- This collaborative approach led to the creation of a co-governance committee, in which the possibility of having a fall commercial lobster fishing season was discussed and recommended.
- This short fall commercial season is not a new fishing activity, but simply authorizes the catch to be sold. LMG has conducted a fall FSC fishery and provided catch data for the past 20 years.
- Of the six LFA 21B licenses, five are held by LMG and one is held by a non-Indigenous license holder.