Amidst ongoing tensions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrested and later released two men following alleged assaults on Saturday. The arrests took place at Saulnierville Wharf in southwestern Nova Scotia, where a group of approximately 30 people had gathered for what the RCMP described as “an assembly.”
While the reason for the gathering remains unclear, tensions in the area have been mounting throughout the summer due to unauthorized lobster fishing. In September of the previous year, the Sipekne’katik First Nation initiated a self-regulated lobster fishery that sparked confrontations between Indigenous and commercial fishers at the same location.
During Saturday’s gathering, RCMP officers from six detachments witnessed a 34-year-old man from Digby County allegedly assaulting another individual in response to being pushed. Shortly after, a separate incident occurred where a 29-year-old man from Hants County grabbed another person by the neck. Both victims, fortunately, did not sustain any injuries and decided not to pursue charges against the offenders.
Following the release of the two accused individuals, they expressed remorse and issued apologies to the victims. In an effort to maintain public safety, the RCMP has announced their continued presence in the community.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has been actively addressing non-compliance in the area, having recently seized 464 traps in southwestern Nova Scotia. Moreover, they apprehended two individuals from Saulnierville, N.S., and seized over 8,000 lobsters caught out of season, returning them to the ocean.
As tensions persist surrounding the lobster fishing dispute, the provincial fisheries minister has proposed increasing the maximum fine for commercial buyers caught selling out-of-season lobster to $1 million.
What led to the arrests at the fishing wharf protest in Nova Scotia?
The arrests were made after two men allegedly engaged in separate assaults during a gathering of approximately 30 people at Saulnierville Wharf. The RCMP witnessed one man assaulting another in response to being pushed, and another man grabbing someone by the neck.
Were there any injuries as a result of the assaults?
Fortunately, no injuries were reported, and the individuals who were allegedly assaulted chose not to pursue charges against the offenders.
Why have tensions been rising in Nova Scotia over unauthorized lobster fishing?
Tensions have been mounting due to a self-regulated lobster fishery initiated by the Sipekne’katik First Nation. The fishery has sparked conflicts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers in the area.
What actions have been taken by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in response to non-compliance?
The department has seized 464 traps for non-compliance with the Fisheries Act in two fishing areas in southwestern Nova Scotia. They also arrested individuals and returned over 8,000 lobsters caught out of season to the ocean.