Nova Scotia Wharf Incident: Two Men Arrested, Discharged Amid Alleged Assaults

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On Saturday, two men were apprehended and later discharged by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in relation to alleged assaults in southwestern Nova Scotia, specifically at a fishing wharf. The arrests were made during what law enforcement personnel referred to as “an assembly.”

The gathering at the Saulnierville Wharf road, as the RCMP reported, drew a team of eight officers from six different detachments. The attendees included a group involved in a protest, but the RCMP declined to disclose further particulars of the gathering, the purpose of which remained obscured to the law enforcement. It remained unclear if the events of that afternoon involved conflicts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers participating in the protest.

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In the recent past, the wharf on St. Mary’s Bay has been the stage of clashes between Indigenous fishers and commercial fishers. This incident dates back to September 2020 when the Sipekne’katik First Nation inaugurated a self-regulated lobster fishery.

Based on the testimony given to the investigators, one altercation on Saturday arose when a 34-year-old man from Digby County was seen attacking another individual after being provoked. A few minutes after this incident, witnesses reported another assault where a man seized another individual by the throat, leading to the arrest of a 29-year-old man from Hants County.

The alleged victims of these assaults, who remained unscathed, requested to drop any charges against their respective aggressors. Subsequently, both the 34-year-old and 29-year-old were discharged and issued apologies to the victims. In the wake of these events, RCMP officers remain stationed in the community to ensure public safety.

Unsanctioned lobster fishing has been a continuous point of conflict this summer in southern Nova Scotia. In response to the rising tensions, the provincial fisheries minister has proposed escalating the maximum fine to $1 million for commercial buyers involved in the illicit sale of out-of-season lobster.

Recently, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans has seized 464 non-compliant traps in two fishing regions in southwestern Nova Scotia, known as LFAs 33 and 34. This was followed by the arrest of two individuals from Saulnierville, N.S., in Moncton, N.B., and the seizure of over 8,000 lobsters caught illegally in southwestern Nova Scotia, which were then returned to the sea.