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Mi’kmaq lead billion-dollar sea change

As new owners of North America’s largest shellfish firm, First Nations coalition vows to boost Clearwater’s sustainability

Oscar Baker III is a Black and Mi’kmaw reporter from Elsipogtog First Nation, currently working as a freelance reporter in Indian Island, New Brunswick.

Last fall, Mi’kmaq harvesters were met with violence as the Sipekne’katik First Nation launched its “moderate livelihood” fishery in St. Marys Bay, 250 kilometres west of Halifax. Lobster pounds were set ablaze, a Mi’kmaq boat was fired upon with flares, and traps tagged as “moderate livelihood” were seized by commercial fishers determined to centre the narrative that the Mi’kmaq were fishing out of season – all while Maine’s lobster-fishing season is open year-round. Out of the tension-filled season, a historic deal was announced: several Mi’kmaq communities would become co-owners of Clearwater, an international powerhouse in the seafood market. The move quickly established the Mi’kmaq as an economic broker in the region.

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