The livelihood fishery of the Sipekne'katik First Nation and the Mi’kmaq community continue to face acts of violence and racism by non-indigenous Canadians associated with the commercial lobster fishery in Nova Scotia. The aggressors have put an immense amount of hate and anger towards attacking a peaceful community, rather than investing that energy into educating themselves on treaty rights, facts behind the health of the fishery and the lobster population or addressing the provincial and federal government stakeholders responsible for fisheries management and First Nations relations.
Scout condemns all forms of racism and violence and recognizes the land and resource rights of First Nations across Turtle Island. We have made a donation to a front line organization to assist with the associated costs of activism and supplies required for peaceful protest. As the situation escalates, we wanted to share more about how we are supporting systemic change.
1. Over the last 6 months, we have been in the process of understanding how we can source more of our seafood from First Nations fisheries starting with educating ourselves on the very policies that currently prevent us from doing so. DFO regulations will have to change in order for us to source more of our seafood from First Nations fisheries, otherwise, our products would not be compliant for sale in Canada or abroad.
2. This is policy work that requires lobbying within industry and government, but we are a small company. With the limited resources we have, our support at Scout is centred around two pillars; bringing awareness to these issues by sharing information and resources, and to be an industry ally to First Nations fisheries and their communities (if we are invited to support them) through advocacy.
3. Right now we are gathering our thoughts and seeking advice so we may engage constructively with the DFO on two fronts: first, to encourage swift changes in policy that do not conflict with and confuse treaty rights; and secondly, encouraging policy changes that are needed so that First Nations fisheries can be afforded the same commercial opportunities as their non-indigenous counterparts.
3. Scout is widely open to exploring opportunities with First Nations groups across Turtle Island including sourcing opportunities, processing and joint ventures.
4. Our mandate is to re-invest 1% + of our revenue into First Nations-led environmental and fisheries projects in the regions we source from. We have been laying the groundwork for this model and will have our First Nations advisory board, comprised of community members in each region we operate in, formed by 2021. Our advisors will be compensated and will help guide our mandate.
5. Our production partner for our Pacific operation is majority-owned by five bands of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth First Nation on Vancouver Island. A portion of profits from Scout’s tuna product flow back to the five Nuu-Chah-Nulth bands and we are exploring additional partnership opportunities with other First Nations on Vancouver Island and the mainland.
6. Our Lobster is sourced entirely from the MSC certified lobster fishery in Prince Edward Island. There is no conflict in Prince Edward Island between the commercial fishery and Mi’qmak communities of Abegweit and Lennox Island. Both bands are in the consideration stage of their own livelihood fisheries and we have reached out to the organization L’nuey whose focus is to protect, preserve and implement the constitutionally entrenched rights of the Mi’kmaq of PEI. Should you choose to purchase Lobster from Scout, you are supporting the small local PEI fishing community of Abrams village.
We will continue to use the platform we have as a company to bring attention to these important issues in support of a healthier, community-minded spirit of cooperation. We stand in solidarity with the Mi’qmak, and all nations of Turtle Island and we encourage our industry peers to show up to this conversation and to take action with the platforms they have available to them.
Co-Founder & CEO