Honorable Bernadette Jordan
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6

September 21, 2020

(via email)

Dear Minister Jordan,

The Municipality of the District of Yarmouth is home to several robust, working wharves supporting both the ground fish and lobster sectors of Nova Scotia’s, and Atlantic Canada’s, critical fishing industry.    

Since 1999 the Federal Government and First Nations have been charged with the responsibility to navigate a road leading to clear parameters for a vibrant, sustainable fishery which would see full participation by First Nation and other participants.  After 21 years, the task remains unfinished and now the issue is coming to a head.

On September 17, 2020 the Sipekne'katik First Nation launched a commercial fishery in the waters off southwest Nova Scotia leading to increased tension among what is referred to as “non-indigenous” and indigenous fishers.  Conflict between the two groups continues to threaten the safety, security and livelihoods of all parties. This council is deeply concerned that demonstrations will become violent if action is not taken.  In addition, Council believes that a lack of clear conservation measures will be detrimental to the economies of rural nova scotia as it could decimate lobster stocks;  stocks that may never recover.

Minister, it is your responsibility, and that of Parliament, to work collaboratively with First Nations and industry on a solution here.  It is your leadership, and that of partner Provincial offices, that is essential to a peaceful solution.  This matter is of grave importance to the safety, security and economic stability of Atlantic Canadians.  The full attention of the Federal government is in order on this matter.  Our residents cannot, nor should they be expected to, wait for this matter to be legislated via the court system.

The Council of the District of Yarmouth respectfully calls on you and your department to bring its full attention and resources to this matter.  The mandate of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is directly related to the long-term economic vitality of our constituents and they deserve your full attention.  What will your department do and when?  How will you demonstrate your leadership to Atlantic Canadians?  How will you, along with Parliament and the Prime Minister, engage all stakeholders to bring swift, fair, clear solutions?

John Cunningham

John Cunningham
Acting Warden

Right Honorable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Chris d’Entremont, MP West Nova
Premier Stephen McNeil
Zack Churchill, MLA Yarmouth
Gordon Wilson, MLA Clare-Digby
Colton LeBlanc, MLA Argyle-Barrington