Reconciliation in Action: Fisheries Agreement reached between Canada and Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government

From: Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Listuguj, Quebec – The Government of Canada is committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. Building on this commitment, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, and the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, together with Chief Darcy Gray of the Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government, announced today that they have agreed to a landmark plan to advance reconciliation in the fisheries.

The five-year renewable Rights Reconciliation Agreement on Fisheries addresses areas of mutual interest, and will help foster improved relationships with, and outcomes for, the Listuguj Mi’gmaq community by:

  • upholding the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision regarding Mi’gmaq First Nations’ Treaty right to harvest and sell fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood, supported by collaborative discussions founded in mutual respect and understanding;
  • reducing socio-economic gaps by supporting the Listuguj Mi’gmaq’s capacity to participate in the fisheries–with the goal of economic self-reliance–by obtaining additional fisheries access, such as through licences and quota, as well as vessels and gear; and
  • establishing a co-developed and collaborative approach to fisheries governance.

This agreement was reached in the spirit of collaboration and in a manner consistent with section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the federal Principles respecting the Government of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples. This includes, among other things, recognition of the inherent jurisdiction and legal orders of Indigenous nations, and that these are the starting point for discussions aimed at interactions between federal and Indigenous jurisdictions and laws, including those related to fisheries.

The Agreement will advance the implementation of rights and make real progress on issues of great importance to the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation. Having a long-term agreement in place will not only benefit the Listuguj First Nation, it will also assist the broader fishing communities in Quebec and New Brunswick by helping provide for stable, predictable and sustainable fisheries for all harvesters in the region.

Quotes

The Mi’gmaq have fished the Atlantic shores for centuries, and have an inherent right to continue that way of life. With this agreement, Canada and Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation will work together to see that right manifest in a productive, sustainable fishery that will bring greater stability, opportunity, and prosperity to the Listuguj people and the local communities. It demonstrates true partnership between our nations, achieved through the spirit of reconciliation.”

The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“Today is another step forward on our shared path of reconciliation with Listuguj Mi’gmaq. We will continue to work together on shared priorities and to rebuild our relationship.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“This agreement marks a new chapter in our relationship with the Crown. Canada has finally acknowledged that Listuguj has authority over our rights and our fishery and that we use our own Indigenous laws in exercising that authority. We will now be able to collaborate with Canada on a government-to-government basis to ensure that our fisheries are safe, sustainable, and contribute to our community for generations to come.”

Chief Darcy Gray, Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government

Quick facts

  • The Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government is one of eight Mi’gmaq communities in Gespe’gewa’gi, all of which have a treaty right to hunt, fish, and gather for a “moderate livelihood,” as confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1999 Marshall decisions.

  • Initial discussions between the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation and the Government of Canada on the Rights Reconciliation Agreement on Fisheries began in 2018.

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