Groups back native fishery

The London Free Press
Thursday, May 17, 2000

MONCTON, N.B. A coalition of social and environmental groups wants the federal government to allow a New Brunswick aboriginal reserve to manage its lobster fishery.

Spokespeople representing 28 organizations faxed Prime Minister Jean Chretien and Fisheries Minister Herb Dhaliwal yesterday with a resolution urging the federal government to "recognize the legitimacy of (fishing) tags issued by the Burnt Church band."

The resolution called on Ottawa to stop using a heavy-handed approach in enforcing fisheries rules on natives at Burnt Church.

As of yesterday, Fisheries and Oceans Department officers had confiscated 38 lobster traps bearing Burnt Church fisheries management tags.

The reserve claims it has a right to manage its own fishery under a Supreme Court of Canada ruling last fall.

The court ruled natives have a right to earn a moderate livelihood from natural resources. The court later clarified its ruling to say Ottawa can restrict native access for conservation.