FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CANADA RECOGNIZES LISTUGUJ’S LAWS AND AUTHORITY IN FISHERIES GOVERNANCE
The Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government and Canada have reached an unprecedented step in our evolving relationship through a Rights Reconciliation Agreement on Fisheries.
On June 17, 2019, the LMG enacted the Listuguj Lobster Law following two years of community consultation, engagement, and guidance. The Listuguj Lobster Law is based, in part, on the Salmon Fishing Law, its principles and process. The enactment of the Listuguj Lobster Law sparked renewed negotiations with Canada. These negotiations sought to create a rights-based agreement on fisheries, with our Mi’gmaq understandings and beliefs, and recognition of our laws, poised at the centre.
The five-year Rights and Reconciliation Agreement on Fisheries was agreed to by LMG on March 24, 2021 and will be approved and signed by Canada in the coming weeks. In the Agreement, Canada recognizes the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation’s fisheries governance and fishing rights. The Agreement also recognizes the mechanisms, including our Mi’gmaq Laws, by which the LMG governs and manages its fisheries.
For the first time, Canada has formally recognized our sacred, inherent responsibility for the stewardship of the land, waters, and living things of Gespe’gewa’gi. As the basis for this Agreement, Canada has also accepted that the recognition of our inherent jurisdiction, legal orders, and laws is the starting point for discussions between the federal government and the LMG.
“We firmly followed the mandate we received from Listugujewaq to assume control over our Fishery Governance. With this Agreement, we leave in the past a model where we were managing DFO’s regulations for a renewed relationship premised on recognition of our laws governing our rights in our territory,” said Saqamaw Darcy Gray. “Because of Listuguj’s strong tradition of exercising our jurisdiction by adopting our own laws, Canada was receptive and accepted to move forward with us adopting the Reconciliation spirit that has helped to shape this Agreement. Our community will benefit from this Agreement, and we will recover our inherent jurisdictional rights on Gespe’gewa’gi,” he concluded.
The five-year Agreement was endorsed unanimously by Chief and Council, and it sets the base for a better relationship with Canada and DFO on Rights Recognition, Fisheries Access, Fisheries Funding, and provides a framework for LMG Fisheries Governance & Collaborative Management.
“This Agreement will allow us to plan and implement our seasons with some certainty that DFO will not unjustifiably infringe on Mi’gmaq fisheries governance and our fishing rights. We will also gain increased access to fisheries resources whether for food, social, ceremonial, or commercial purposes, funds for capacity building on fisheries governance, obtain fisheries access, which could include licenses and/or quota as well as vessels and gear,” said Dr. Fred Metallic, Natural Resources Director, member of fisheries negotiation team on behalf of LMG.
LMG remains committed to making certain that our rights, responsibilities, and full authority over our fisheries are upheld. If required, there is nothing in this Agreement that prohibits the LMG from initiating or supporting legal proceedings against Canada concerning any alleged breach of this Agreement by Canada, including action by Canada that fails to fulfill the duty to consult and accommodate or unjustifiably infringes our Aboriginal or Treaty Rights. The Agreement reflects our laws, and LMG will continue to protect and fight for Mi’gmaq rights and responsibilities, on the water and at the table with government. As part of the Agreement, discussions between LMG and Canada will continue. In concrete terms, upon signing this Agreement the LMG and Canada will form a Co-Governance Fisheries Committee to facilitate collaborative assessment, planning, and management in relation to the LMG’s Fishery.
Once finalized, the full agreement will be made available on the LMG website.
For more information, please contact Hilary Barnaby, Communications Manager, at 418-788-2136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.