Natives Pulling Out Lobster Traps

The London Free Press
November 1, 1999

BURNT CHURCH, N.B. Fishers from two East Coast aboriginal bands spent the weekend removing lobster traps from Maritime waters as their first commercial fishery prepared to close today.

"They've been going out all weekend," Alex Dedam, spokesperson for New Brunswick's Burnt Church reserve, said of his band's lobster fishers.

"(The chief) was advising pretty much everybody to pull out their traps as of (yesterday)."

About 10 Burnt Church fishers had just under 200 traps in the water on Friday, Dedam said.

Between 25 and 50 traps were removed Saturday, but Dedam said rough weather made it difficult for people to collect the rest yesterday. He said some chose to abandon the traps.

"They were saying their traps were too old, there was no point in going out and getting them," said Dedam, adding he didn't know of anyone who has decided to defy the ban.

"There was no indication that anybody intends to keep fishing."

Meanwhile, fishers in Nova Scotia's Indian Brook reserve also collected their traps.

"They've been taking them out all weekend," said Paul Julian, who works at the band office. "That's it until next year."

Band Chief Reg Maloney has said band members will likely have little trouble complying with the government's Oct. 31 deadline to remove traps because it coincides with a season limit already imposed by the band.

Federal Fisheries Minister Herb Dhaliwal said earlier this month that a limited lobster fishery would be allowed for the Indian Brook and Burnt Church reserves until the end of October.

The announcement came under increasing pressure from commercial fishers to cap native lobster hauls. { au:Canadian Press