Police in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia have made two arrests amid rising tensions over a lobster fishery organized by locals.
Authorities detained two people for attacking a crowd gathered for the dedication.
Members of Cipcnatic First Nation say they have the right to issue fishing licenses to their own people.
Non-native lobster fishermen, however, say their boats are operating out of season and should be stopped.
The row comes on the anniversary of a verdict that reaffirmed the rights of indigenous groups to hunt and fish.
It was decided in a 1999 ruling that any hunting and fishing should be for moderate livelihoods – but the “medium” is largely uncertain.
Lobster is Nova Scotia’s most valuable seafood export and the related fishing industry has an estimated annual cost of C $ 500m (3,293m).
On Thursday, Cipcnetic First Nation issued its first license in the port of Saulnirville under its newly self-regulated “moderate livelihood” fishing. About 200 people gathered to unload the boats on the ships and a ceremony was held to bless the fleet.
Michael Sack, head of Sipkanectic, told the crowd that they were exercising their constitutional rights as confirmed in the 1999 ruling.
“Our issue is not about commercial fishermen, it is about not holding on to our rights at the government level,” he was quoted as saying by CTV. “Commercial fishermen should back up now and let us do our job.”
With the launch of the new fishing line, a flotilla of boats attached to non-native lobster fishers turned the port’s mouth in protest.
Indigenous fishermen later said the line for their lobster traps was cut and flames were fired at their boats.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said on Friday that officers were trying to calm the situation in Wharf and other nearby areas.
Local media reported that a large crowd had gathered at Wharf in Vyammouth, 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Saulnirville.
“We arrested two people at the ferry in Wei Emmouth,” RCMP spokeswoman Jennifer Clark said, quoting broadcaster CBC. “They were arrested for assault and taken away from the scene and then left in court.”
He said police would maintain a presence in the area over the weekend.
On friday Indigenous leaders declared a “state of emergency” In response to increasing stress.
Non-native lobster fishermen are calling on the Canadian government to stop new fishing. They say the law that has stopped lobster fishing for several months is important for conservation purposes.
They also allege that indigenous fishing is in fact a commercial operation that eliminates a large number of lobsters – although the leaders of the First Nation have been hotly debated.
Canadian Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan told CBC Nova Scotia News that she wanted to meet with representatives from both sides of the dispute to discuss the “best way forward”.
He said he was confident both sides would come to the table for safety.
“We need to find a place where we can communicate well and make sure that we can all listen to each other and not talk to each other. We need to listen to each other and how we can best resolve this situation. It needs to be found. ” He added.
In recent years Canada has faced a number of issues related to the rights of indigenous peoples.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party came to power promising to transform the country’s relations with indigenous communities.
Indigenous peoples in Canada have rights, including the right to land, self-determination and self-government, and to adhere to their culture and customs.
There are more than 1.6 million Indigenous people in Canada, including First Nations, Inuit and Matisse, and they make up 5% of the national population.
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