Shubenacadie Band is commonly referred to as Indian Brook First Nation
Shubenacadie Band is comprised of the Indian Brook Reserve, New Boss
Reserve and Grand Lake Reserve;
the majority of the Band's 2,000 members reside on the Indian Brook
Reserve, which is situated 80 kms north of Halifax;
the Shubenacadie Band is the second largest Mi'kmaq community in Nova
The Shubenacadie Band and its members are descendants
of the Mi'kmaq who entered into various Peace and Friendship Treaties
with the British, including the Treaties with the British, including
the Treaties of 1752 and 1760/61.
Brief facts about Indian Brook First Nation
The Shubenacadie Band has been embroiled in a dispute with the DFO
over the exercise of the right to fish for a moderate livelihood pursuant
to the Treaty of 1760/61 as affirmed in the Marshall decision;
The Shubenacadie Band began its livelihood fishery in St. Mary's Bay,
Nova Scotia in 1997.
Immediately after the Marshal Decision the DFO had agreed to allow
the Band to fish up to 800 lobster tags in the St. Mary's Bay area
for food, social, ceremonial and livelihood purposes. In May of 2000,
DFO Minister, Herb Dhaliwal unilaterally reduced the amount of the
Band's fishing tags to 35 for food purposes only. The Band was not
consulted as to the reasons for the reduction.
On June 2, 2000 the Band approved a Lobster Management Plan, developed
by the Indian Brook Fishers Association, outlining its livelihood
fishery for St. Mary's Bay for the period July 3rd to October 15th
and forwards it to the DFO. The Lobster Management Plan allowed for
the use of 800 Indian Brook lobster tags (not DFO's) for livelihood
fishing as well as for food, social and ceremonial fishing. The figure
of 800 Indian Brook tags was agreed to by DFO the previous year for
food, social and ceremonial purposes as well as livelihood purposes.
The Band made numerous requests for reasons for the unilateral reduction
in the number of lobster tags and made repeated requests for DFO TO
consult with the Band on decisions relating to its fishery.
On July 1, 2000 the Band revised its statement as to its position
on the St. Mary's Bay fishery on July 3, 2000 by proposing to use
(under protest) 35 tags from DFO to conduct a scientific study to
ascertain whether there were any conservation concerns. The Band again
requested the cooperation of DFO's biologists for the scientific study;
On July 3, 2000 the Band commenced its scientific study. DFO also
commenced its enforcement activities on Band members by seizing traps
and interfering with the study.
Based on encouraging results from Part 1, on July 24th the Band announced
that it will be undertaking Part 2 of the study on July 28, 2000.
Part 2 allowed for an increased fishing effort using 335 tags rather
than 35. DFO's enforcement activities continued and more traps were
Between July 26th and August 5th, 2000 a total of 23 men and women
were charged with Fisheries Act and Criminal Code offenses, 6 fishing
vessels were seized and hundreds Code offenses, 6 fishing vessels
were seized and hundreds of lobster traps confiscated. Their cases
are currently before the Courts.
In August 2000, the Band commenced an application in the Federal Court
of Canada for a judicial review of the Minister's decision not to
allow lobster fishing in accordance with the Band's Management Plan.
The Band also applied for an interim injunction to prohibit DFO form
interfering with the exercise of their Treaty rights. The injunction
was denied on September 21, 2000;
On December 14, 2000, the Shubenacadie Band filed a statement of claim
in their existing legal proceeding in the Federal Court of Canada
challenging on the basis of their treaty rights the licensing power
and actions of the Minister of DFO in obstructing their fishery. The
Band and its fishers also seek compensation for the seizure of vessels,
traps and loss of livelihood.
Most recently the Minister has filed an application to strike out
the Statement of Claim. This is to be heard on March 9, 2001
The provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, a lobster Fisherman's
Group for the St. Mary's Bay area and the Atlantic Fishery Alliance
have intervened to oppose the Band. All the neighboring municipalities
have indicated their intention to likewise intervene. Application
to intervene and to determine their rights of participation is to
be heard on April 11, 2001.
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