Since 2012, the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs (Assembly) and Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office (KMKNO) have been developing a Mi’kmaq Plamu Salmon Management Plan, in cooperation with the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources (UINR), and Mi’kmaq Conservation Group (MCG). This Plan was created to balance the Right to Salmon harvesting for the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia, while respecting the conservation.
The Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia have a Right for harvesting Salmon under the Food, Social and Ceremonial (FSC) fishery, as guaranteed by the Sparrow Decision which granted First Nations the authority to harvest fish under the FSC fishery, once ensuring that conservation is not an issue.
The Mi’kmaq Plamu/Salmon Management Plan is welcomed news, for the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia, as it eliminates boundaries created by Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in the individualized Food, Social and Ceremonial licenses issued to Bands. Traditionally our people were not confined by boundaries or regions, and it was important to the Assembly that the Mi’kmaq Nation in Nova Scotia brought the fisheries back to what it once was.
Understanding traditions and our role of protectors for the environment, the Mi’kmaq Plan also looks at proper salmon management and how Mi’kmaq science can ensure that the salmon will continue to be around for many generations.
Conservation issues have been addressed through river-specific Salmon Tags and we are asking fishers to report their catches to UINR and MCG so that the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia have accurate data and that no one river system is being overfished.
Based on 2500 licenses that used to be issued for salmon fishing in the province, harvesters were able to catch and retain four salmon; which equates to 10,000 salmon harvested in any given year. These recreational harvests were also taking place in rivers that the Mi’kmaq were excluded from fishing in. As of June 1st, 2015, recreational anglers will not be allowed to retain any salmon, and sports-angled salmon must be re-released for conservation reasons. The Mi’kmaq Plamu/Salmon Management Plan affirms that the Mi’kmaq Right to harvest for the FSC fishery is a priority over sports fishers.
As we all recognize that salmon stocks are depleting, it is important now, more than ever, that the Mi’kmaq help to create accurate data based in true Mi’kmaq science.
As of June 1st, 2015 the Assembly will roll out and implement the 2015 – 2016 Mi’kmaq Plamu/Salmon Management Plan for Nova Scotia. Conservation is an issue and responsibility of us all; together, the Mi’kmaq Nation needs to ensure that salmon will be available for seven generations to come. Community Fisheries Directors and Guardians will be responsible for issuing tags, valuable educational materials and reporting cards to ensure a successful first year of implementation. We encourage you to talk to your Fisheries Managers/ Guardians, Chiefs, Councillors, MCG, UINR or KMKNO to see how you can help the take care of this sacred species.
For additional information, please contact:
Crystal Dorey, Communication Officer Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office