Here we go again on the bay with another fishing season

Miramichi Leader
Wednesday, July 25, 2001 

Well! here we go again. The 2001 fall lobster fishing season is about to get underway. This causes my husband to be in a bad mood until it’s over, because of the Native Fisheries. 

My husband’s fishing boat is 10 years old, and will have to be replaced soon. This means a cost of about $100,000 or more. He will have to get a loan for God knows how long. If he were Native, it would be given to him, plus all the gear. 

He’s at the point now where he’s really thinking about giving up the fishing business. He’s been doing this for 17 years, and his father for many years before this. 

I wonder if people know where their tax dollars are going. In October 2000, the Maritime Fisherman’s Union sent out its regular news bulletin. Here’s just a bit of what was in it. 

A buy-back program up to March 31, 2001, for $120 million. 

DFO (Department of Fisheries) will also pay to the band (Burnt Church, Big Cove) a contribution not exceeding $4,225,000 for construction of 23 lobster boats with gear and traps, one 55 ft. vessel with gear for fishing crab, up to 7,000 lobster traps, etc. 

DFO also agreed to provide the band with a contribution not exceeding $2,300,000 to pay for negotiations, consultations, administration and coordination of activities, research, training, resource enhancement, feasibility studies on economic development. 

In April 2000, chief negotiator, James MacKenzie, put an offer to Burnt Church as part of an Interim Fishing Agreement that would provide $2 million for a new wharf, $260 thousand for on-going projects, 75 tons of snow crab, four more care lobster licenses with vessels and gear, and $75 thousand for a Band Fisheries Center. 

On top of all this, the natives don’t even pay taxes. 

Now the Metis want their rights and are fighting for them. There are about 40,000 people in New Brunswick who think they are native because of a great-great-great-grandfather. Does this give them the right not to pay taxes. 

The rest of the province better hope they don’t get their cards, because we, the taxpayer, will have to pay for them too. The Canadian government is making our province racial. 

My husband and I, and most of the fishermen in Baie Ste-Anne and Escuminac don’t care if the natives fish, but do it right, follow the regulations we have to, and fish where you’re supposed to. 

Don’t bring in females and undersized lobster; use the same measure that we do. Give the natives licences, but make them pay for boats, gear, etc. like the rest of us. 

Every year we go deeper in the hole. It may be time to get out. Marie Durelle 

P.S. In my latest Readers’ Digest is an article that says judges are to consider the aboriginal status of defendants. It’s aimed at making the justice system consider alternatives to incarceration for aboriginal people whose population in the prison system is far out of proportion to other ethnic groups.