When the lobster fisheries dispute in southwestern Nova Scotia intensified in mid-September, attacks on the local Mi’kmaq Sipekne’katik First Nation became more violent — facilities storing lobster caught by Mi’kmaq fishers were burned and vandalized, rocks were hurled at windows with employees still inside and Mi’kmaq-owned traps were ransacked.
Under the Peace and Friendships Treaty signed in 1726, the Mi’kmaq have protected legal rights to harvest fish for food, social and ceremonial purposes for a “moderate livelihood.” And yet tensions remain. While non-Indigenous lobster fishers worry the recently setup Sipekne’katik First Nation lobster fishery would deplete lobster stocks, in actuality, Mi’kmaq fishers set out an average of 250 traps at a time (roughly equivalent to one commercial boat).
In response to the violence against the Mi’kmaq, Indigenous communities have joined together in a $537-million takeover of one of Canada’s biggest seafood companies. In addition to this, a growing number of restaurants, coast to coast, are examining their lobster sources — and choosing to pull the fleshy shellfish off its menu. Though the gesture may be small, it is still a meaningful statement of solidarity with the Mi’kmaq community and its right to fish. Here are restaurants that are boycotting lobster from Nova Scotia’s non-Indigenous owned commercial fisheries in support of the Sipekne’katik First Nation fishers.