The implications for aboriginal groups in Newfoundland and Labrador regarding changes to access/allocation provisions contained in the proposed federal fisheries act

Martin, Paul (2011) The implications for aboriginal groups in Newfoundland and Labrador regarding changes to access/allocation provisions contained in the proposed federal fisheries act. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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As Caddy noted, "access to and allocation of fish resources remains one of the most difficult and controversial aspects of fisheries management in Canada and abroad" (Dooley, 2004). It is generally agreed that access and allocation issues associated with harvesting rights remains a divisive and contentious issues for participants in the province's fishing industry. This is particularly true for Aboriginal groups in the province who have been challenged to capitalize on economic development opportunities associated with the fishery. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has the challenging responsibility of responding to the demands of a range of provincial and territorial jurisdictions while at the same time considering the access/allocation needs of Aboriginal groups throughout the country. Various mechanisms have been introduced over the past decade to assist DFO with these access decisions. The Independent Panel on Access Criteria (IP AC) introduced in 2001 was one of these initiatives. IP AC was tasked with finding a solution to the decision making process involving access and the associated ranking or weighting, and defining access criteria. !PAC was successful in identifying various access principles and criteria but it did not fully address some of the outstanding problems related to access. It is important to note that the IP AC suggested that the issue of Aboriginal participation and access to the fishery required special consideration in the Panel's deliberations, due to the constitutional position of Aboriginal peoples. The Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy (AFS) was the other initiative designed to respond to the needs of the Aboriginal people in the country. Introduced in 1992, the AFS was intended to help DFO manage the fishery in a manner consistent with the Sparrow decision. It was intended to serve as a bridging arrangement in fisheries management during the negotiation of comprehensive land claims and self-government agreements. It applies where DFO manages the fishery and where land claim settlements have not already put in place a fisheries management framework. This paper attempts to illustrate how various Aboriginal groups have been marginalized over decades as it relates to the fishery and presents a series of court decisions to illustrate this point. The paper also offers a comparison of the access and allocation criteria associated with the proposed Federal Fisheries Act and those currently in place under the AFS. A significant part of the paper addresses the historical perspective of how Aboriginal groups have been treated by the Federal Government, the Courts, and by society in general. These historical references are essential to fully appreciate the plight of the Aboriginal people and their frustrations in experiencing their rightful place in the country and their right to achieve a reasonable livelihood from the fishery. The paper will also highlight some of the experiences of other Aboriginal peoples in other parts of Canada, in order to provide a clearer picture of how Aboriginal rights have evolved in Canada.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 12272
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 72-74).
Department(s): Marine Institute
Date: July 2011
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada; Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Indians of North America--Fishing--Law and legislation--Newfoundland and Labrador; Indians of North America--Legal status, laws, etc.--Newfoundland and Labrador; Indians of North America--Civil rights--Newfoundland and Labrador; Fishery policy--Canada; Fishery law and legislation--Canada

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