Fisheries officers wearing orange survival suits and night-vision goggles swooped into Miramichi Bay and made off with 97 Mi’kmaq lobster traps on Sept. 25, bringing the number of seized traps to 1,351.
The raid came just hours after reports of shots rang out over the waters of the bay for the third time in four days, abruptly ending an overnight fisheries operation.
Mi’kmaq Chief Wilbur Dedam has said that any efforts by either enforcement officers or non-Native fishermen to remove traps would be met with resistance until the community of Esgenoopetitj’s lobster fishing season ends Oct. 7.
“All our fishermen are doing is just trying to make a moderate livelihood and I’m not going to stop them,” said Dedam in one newspaper report.
The dispute has turned violent in recent days. A non-Native boat was reportedly hit by a bullet on Sept. 22, while three non-Natives were arrested the next day after shots were fired from a boat.
The RCMP said one of the non-Native men was charged with careless use of a firearm and possession of a firearm dangerous to the public peace.