Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq to vie for licence in lucrative Arctic surf clam fishery

MEMBERTOU, N.S. _ Thirteen Mi’kmaq communities in Nova Scotia have come together to file an application for a licence to participate in the Arctic surf clam fishery.

The announcement was made today by Chief Terrance Paul, co-chairman of the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs.

The Mi’kmaq communities submitted the proposal after federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc announced in September that his department was looking to give 25 per cent of the current quota held by Halifax-based Clearwater Seafoods to a new entrant, setting a deadline of Nov. 2 for expressions of interest.

The new licence, which is due to the issued next year, must go to a holder who is majority Canadian-owned and must be an Indigenous entity based in Atlantic Canada or Quebec.

The Mi’kmaq say they are partnering with Clearwater Seafoods on the application, but add Clearwater will only act as an operating partner while the license will be solely Mi’kmaq owned.

Paul says the chance to participate in the fishery represents an “historic opportunity for our people” and the chiefs hope it will be the start of new jobs and training and be part of a “meaningful nation-to-nation reconciliation.”