New Bedford, Massachusetts - Before dawn, Jerry Leeman churned through inky black waters, clutching the wheel of the fishing vessel Harmony. The 85-foot trawler, deep green and speckled with rust, was returning from a grueling fishing trip deep into the Atlantic swells. Leeman and his crew of four had worked 10 consecutive days, 20 hours a day, to haul in more than 50,000 pounds of fish: pollock, haddock and ocean perch, a trio known as groundfish in the industry and as whitefish in the freezer aisle. As sunrise broke over New Bedford harbor, the fish were offloaded in plastic crates onto the asphalt dock of Blue Harvest Fisheries, one of the largest fishing companies on the East Coast. About 390 million pounds of seafood move each year through New Bedford’s waterfront, the top-earning commercial fishing port in the nation.
I am a Tulalip Tribal member, Treaty fishermen, and elected member of the Tulalip Board of Directors. My Indian name from my father’s side is Wanbdi Wan Wanna Kinyan, which in English means “Eagle Who Takes Flight.” For the last six years, Anthony Paul and I have been the target of a racially motivated criminal investigation and prosecution by the State of Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). But we are not the real target. The State’s real target is Tulalip Treaty rights. The real target is our way of life. On Monday, October 25, 2021 at 9 AM, we will appear in Skagit County Superior Court in Mt. Vernon to defend our existence. Please stand with us. It was my childhood dream to become a Tribal fish buyer and to start a business that would allow Tulalip fishermen to not be ripped off any longer by non-tribal fish buyers and wholesalers.
Years of negotiation to develop a collaborative fisheries governance model between Canada and eight First Nations along the West Coast came to fruition this week. Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan and Coastal First Nations (CFN) president K̓áwáziɫ Marilyn Slett, along with other CFN member nations, celebrated the signing and next steps for implementation of the Fisheries Resources Reconciliation Agreement (FRRA) on Friday. The first of its kind in B.C., the agreement between Canada and First Nations on the north and central coast and Haida Gwaii — whose territories make up 40 per cent of the province’s coastal waters — provides the nations an enhanced role in fisheries governance in their regions.
Canada - A Mi'kmaq First Nation that encountered violence after it opened a self-regulated lobster fishery says it will launch a series of lawsuits against non-Indigenous fishers for alleged damages incurred by its members. The band also intends to file a constitutional challenge against a provincial law that has prevented the band from selling its lobster catch, Ron Pink, the lawyer for Sipekne’katik First Nation, said Thursday. "We're pursuing injuries to individuals and disruption to their fishing by certain individuals," Pink told a news conference at the band office.
In a joint statement released by Mi’kmaq Coalition and Premium Brands, the purchase of Clearwater Seafood is being called the single largest investment by Indigenous group. The Halifax-based Clearwater Seafoods was purchased by Premium Brands of British Columiba and a coaltion of Mi’kaw First Nations. The billion-dollar deal was announced on Monday, November 9, 2020. The Mi’kmaq Coalition is a new legal entity formed for the purpose of this investment in Clearwater. The Mi’kmaq Coalition is owned collectively by participating Mi’kmaq First Nations in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
Today across the country, people awoke to reeling images of violence and racism carried out against Mi’kmaq fishers. Many people are asking key questions such as why the RCMP has not pro-actively intervened and defended Mi’kmaq leadership and fishers, what are the economic realities of the fisheries in Mi’kma’ki, and what conservation considerations are at play. There are a lot of moving parts to the conflict that is ongoing in St Mary’s Bay, Nova Scotia: It is a highly-charged situation, borne out of generations of colonialism, decades of government mishandling and neglect, and months of growing racially-motivated tensions.
Tokyo - Japanese fish industry representatives on Thursday urged the government not to allow the release at sea of tonnes of contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant, saying it would undo years of work to restore their reputation. Tokyo Electric has collected more than a million tonnes of contaminated water since the plant was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. The water is stored in huge tanks that crowd the site and it says it will run out of storage room by 2022.
But that one promise provided a long-awaited positive sign for independent biologist Alexandra Morton, and Skwah First Nation elder Eddie Gardner, who have both been fighting for years to see open-net fish farms moved off the migratory routes of Fraser River wild salmon runs. The PM’s letter pledges to: “Work with the province of British Columbia and Indigenous communities to create a responsible plan to transition from open net-pen salmon farming in coastal British Columbia waters by 2025, and begin work to introduce Canada’s first-ever Aquaculture Act.”
Factory farming and fish production are now a multi-trillion-dollar monster with a growing and devastating impact on public health, animal welfare, small farmers and farmworkers, rural and fishing communities, ocean marine life, water quality, air pollution, soil health, biodiversity and last but not least, global warming. Worldwide, two-thirds of all farm animals are now inhumanely imprisoned on highly-polluting factory farms, fed pesticide- and chemical-contaminated grains and GMOs, often supplemented with contaminated fish meal and oils, and routinely dosed with antibiotics and hormones. In the U.S., 90-95 percent of all dairy, meat and poultry come from industrial-scale factory farms, while more than half of all fish consumed comes from factory-scale fish farms.
Molina Dawson and Karissa Glendale are vowing to continue their fight against the fish farm industry despite a British Columbia Supreme Court ruling that granted injunctions to two companies against them. The province’s highest court has granted Marine Harvest Canada and Cermaq Canada injunctions at four different salmon farms north of Vancouver Island. This means Dawson, Glendale and a number of other First Nation protestors must stay away or face being arrested. But they say the injunctions won’t stop them. “We are going to continue being out in the water in our territory so we can see what the fish farms are doing and keep an eye on them regardless of the injunctions,” said Dawson.
By Brandon Jordan for Waging Nonviolence - The sign outside the protest encampment on Midsummer Island in British Columbia, Canada, is a blunt summation of what its inhabitants — indigenous people from various First Nations tribes — have been trying to accomplish for the past two months: “Get Fish Farms Out.” Yet, due to a Supreme Court ruling issued last week, it is not the fish farms that must leave the island, but rather the demonstrators and their camp, which consists of two small houses with beds, solar panels and a replenishing supply of food. The court made its decision after receiving an injunction, or demand for removal request, by Marine Harvest, the Norwegian seafood company that operates the facility. Demonstrators were given three days to dismantle the camp and 30 days to leave the island — or risk arrest. As the decision was being handed down, more demonstrators gathered outside the court in Vancouver to tell reporters and supporters that they are still committed to their demand of removing fish farms on indigenous territory. “That doesn’t mean the occupation is over,” said Ernest Alfred, hereditary chief of a few First Nations tribes in British Columbia. “We just have to strategize and come up with a plan of relocation.” The plan that unfolded saw a handful of First Nations people remove and transport all their Midsummer Island supplies, including the homes, to another encampment at nearby Swanson Island, which is also the site of another Marine Harvest facility.
By Kim Petersen for American Herald Tribune - LAX KXEEN3 – In January, a two-day Salmon Nation Summit discussed the science behind a corporation’s bid to set up industry in salmon habitat, habitat that is on unceded Ts’msyen territory. Concern for the wild salmon was generated by the proposal of Malaysian state-owned Petronas to construct a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on Lax U’u’la (Lelu Island) in the Kysen (Skeena) River estuary. The estuary is vital salmon habitat, and hard science warns that the LNG project is a danger to fish habitat.
By West Coast Native News - Members of a Vancouver Island First Nation are vowing to risk arrest rather than allow an international fish farming company to anchor an open-net salmon farm north of Tofino. The Ahousaht First Nation say they set up a boat blockade Wednesday at the site of the new farm, owned by Norwegian-based Cermaq. The Ahousaht say the company holds 17 salmon farm tenures in Clayoquot Sound and applied for two new tenures in the same area last year. The First Nation believes the applications signal a new round of fish farm expansion on the West Coast, with the Ahousaht Fish Farm Committee predicting a four-fold increase in the industry over the next 15 years. Protesters oppose any new fish farms in the area.
As oceans become more acidic, the US shellfish business is facing “high economic risk” in 15 out of 23 coastal states, according to a study published Monday in the Nature Climate Change journal. Massachusetts tops the list of states facing the highest risk, the study concluded. Shelled mollusks such as oysters, clams and scallops are extremely sensitive to ocean acidification, according to the paper. Those species represent lucrative fisheries, and a big part of the economy in coastal communities that depend on their sale. The US shellfish industry brings in $1bn annually, according to the report. In the Southern Massachusetts fishery alone, shellfish makes up a $300m-per-year business, with the state giving out 1,350 commercial fishing licenses annually.