Renewal of interim understanding reached that will see Potlotek First Nation members fishing in pursuit of a moderate livelihood

News release

April 29, 2022

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - Building on last year’s successful moderate livelihood fishery, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has reached a second interim understanding with Potlotek First Nation that will see their members fishing jakej (lobster) in pursuit of a moderate livelihood and selling their catch under Potlotek’s Netukulimk Livelihood Fisheries Plan and a DFO-issued authorization. The plan was developed by the community with support from the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs and Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office (KMKNO).

Harvesters designated under Potlotek’s Netukulimk Livelihood Fisheries Plan will fish a total of 1,200 traps during the established 2022 commercial seasons distributed across Lobster Fishing Areas (LFAs) 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31A – all of which are within the Unama’ki District where Potlotek is located.

To enable fishing in pursuit of a moderate livelihood without increasing overall effort in these LFAs, the Department remains committed to continuing to work with the commercial industry to ensure that effort is aligned with available access. The preferred approach to obtaining access is through the willing buyer – willing seller voluntary licence relinquishment process.


“The interim understanding reached with Potlotek First Nation last year was the first of its kind. This understanding saw members of the community fishing in pursuit of a moderate livelihood under a community-developed plan and DFO authorization. The success of that collaborative approach set the stage for understandings with other Mi’kmaw communities. I am pleased that the original understanding will be renewed this year to support the implementation of rights-based fishing for Potlotek and other First Nations.”

The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“I’d like to congratulate Chief Wilbert Marshall for his leadership, and I wish Potlotek First Nation, and all harvesters, a prosperous and safe fishing season. I look forward to our continued work together on oceans protection, safety on the water, conservation, and the preservation of the industry for generations to come.”

Mike Kelloway, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, MP Cape Breton—Canso

Quick facts

  • Fishing has been authorized, and can take place once the DFO-established season opens in each respective LFA. The season dates are as follows:

    • LFA 27: May 15 – July 15
    • LFA 28: April 30 – June 30
    • LFA 29: April 30 – June 30
    • LFA 30: May 19 – July 20
    • LFA 31A: April 29 – June 30
  • This understanding includes LFA-specific trap limits as follows with a total authorized tab limit of 1,200:

    • Up to 210 traps in LFA 28,
    • Up to 700 traps in LFA 29,
    • Up to 210 traps in LFA 30; and,
    • Up to 420 traps in LFA 31A.
  • In the LFAs where designated harvesters are authorized to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood, lobster stocks are all considered to be in the Healthy Zone.

  • Since the Supreme Court of Canada Marshall decisions, DFO has taken a number of steps to implement the right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood. The Department uses an array of program and tools, such as the Marshall Response Initiative, the Atlantic Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative, the current Rights Reconciliation Agreement process and Moderate Livelihood Fish Plans, to realize a community’s moderate livelihood vision. For example, consideration is given to factors such as their existing communal commercial access, size of community and the characteristics of the area they want to fish.

Associated links


Claire Teichman
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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