Newspaper article The Canadian Press

New Brunswick First Nation Reveals Indigenous Partners amid Clam Controversy

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

New Brunswick First Nation Reveals Indigenous Partners amid Clam Controversy

Article excerpt

N.B. band reveals partners amid controversy

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HALIFAX - The New Brunswick First Nation at the centre of a dispute over a lucrative clam fishing licence has released a list of its Indigenous partners in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, but the new information is unlikely to quell complaints about how the licence was awarded.

Chief Aaron Sock of the Elsipogtog First Nation issued a statement late Thursday saying the partners in the new Arctic surf clam venture include the Abegweit First Nation from P.E.I., and the Potlotek First Nation from Nova Scotia, both of which are Mi'kmaq bands.

As well, he said the partnership with Cape Breton's Premium Seafoods Group includes the Innu First Nation of Nutashkuan from Quebec and the Inuit of Nunatukavut in Labrador.

Together, their new consortium is called Five Nations Clam Company.

"We believe that this is a tremendous opportunity for these Indigenous communities to further increase their involvement in the fishery and we pledge our full commitment and co-operation to our partners in working towards this goal," Sock said in the statement.

Last week, the Newfoundland and Labrador government and the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq chiefs said the Five Nations Clam Company did not have any Indigenous partners from Newfoundland and Labrador or Nova Scotia when Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc made the licence announcement on Feb. 21.

On Wednesday, LeBlanc rejected calls to reverse his decision, saying he wasn't surprised there was discontent among those whose proposals failed to win approval.

However, LeBlanc also confirmed that Five Nations only had "reserved spots" for other Indigenous groups when the decision was made.

The Elsipogtog First Nation, which sits just outside LeBlanc's federal riding, issued a statement on Wednesday saying it had signed memoranda of understanding with Indigenous communities from Quebec and the four Atlantic provinces -- but the statement did not say when the agreements were signed. …

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