Police in Nova Scotia, Canada, have been arrested twice as tensions have risen over the fishing of lobsters created by Aboriginal communities.
As crowds gathered to commemorate the launch, police officers detained two people for assault.
Members of Sipekne’katik First Nation say they have the right to issue fishing licenses to their own citizens.
However, non-native lobster fishermen say the boats are out of season and must be stopped.
This row comes on the anniversary of the ruling, confirming the rights of the Aboriginal group to hunting and fishing.
The 1999 ruling stipulated that hunting and fishing should be done for a moderate livelihood, but “normal” was largely undefined.
Lobster is Nova Scotia’s most valuable seafood export, and its associated fisheries are worth C$500 million (about 290 million pounds) per year.
On Thursday, Sipekne’katik First Nation issued its first license under a new self-regulated “intermediate livelihood” fishing at the port of Saulnierville. About 200 people gathered at the marina to see the boat, and a ceremony was held to bless the fleet.
Sipekne’katik Chief Michael Sack told the audience that he was exercising the constitutional rights identified in the 1999 ruling.
“Our problem isn’t about commercial fishermen. We have a problem at the level of government that doesn’t uphold our rights,” he said, cited by CTV. “Commercial fishermen just have to step back and let us do what we do.”
As new fishing began, a flotilla of ships belonging to non-native lobster fishermen protested and rounded the port entrance.
Later, indigenous fishermen said that the lobster trap was cut off and flares were fired at the ship.
The Royal Canadian Riding Police (RCMP) said Friday that the police were at the docks and other nearby places to calm the situation.
Local media said it was upset among the large crowd gathered at the Weymouth pier, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Saulnierville.
RCMP spokesman Jennifer Clarke Both, quoted by broadcaster CBC, said, “We’ve arrested the two at Weymouth’s wharf.” “They were arrested for assault, escorted away from the scene, and later released and held in court.”
She said the police would remain active in the area over the weekend.
On Friday, Aboriginal leaders have declared “emergency”. In response to rising tension
Non-native lobster fishermen are urging the Canadian government to crack down on new fisheries. They say that banning lobster fishing for several months is essential for conservation purposes.
They also argue that indigenous fishing is actually a commercial operation that removes large numbers of lobsters. However, First Nation leaders strongly challenge this.
Canadian Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan told CBC Nova Scotia News that he would like to meet representatives from both sides of the conflict to discuss the “best path.”
She was confident that both sides would come to the table for safety.
“We need to find a place to encourage good conversation and make sure that we can all listen to each other and not each other. We need to listen to each other and find a way to best deal with this situation. .” She added.
In recent years, Canada has struggled with a series of issues related to indigenous rights.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party pledged to transform relations with indigenous communities.
Native Canadians include the right to land, self-determination, autonomy, and the right to practice culture and customs.
Canada has more than 1.6 million Aboriginal people, including Aboriginal, Inuit, and Metis, making up about 5% of the nation’s population.
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