Abegweit First Nation part of consortium awarded surf clam quota
'Tremendous opportunity' for the P.E.I. community, chief says
P.E.I.'s Abegweit First Nation is one of five Indigenous groups involved in a coveted Arctic surf clam quota announced last month.
The Department of Fisheries' decision to give the Five Nations Clam Corporation 25 per cent of the surf clam quota (better known as bar clams on the Island) angered Nova Scotia Indigenous groups and Clearwater Seafoods in Newfoundland and Labrador, which had a monopoly on the fishery.
The identities of the five groups involved with the corporation were revealed late Thursday. They are sharing 8,924 tonnes of the surf clam quota.
Clearwater threatened to sue and then asked for a review of the Five Nations Clam Corporation.
Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc rejected that, saying no one owns the surf clam quota. He declined to clarify when or how the consortium of Indigenous groups came together.
Chief Brian Francis of the Abegweit First Nation said the new corporation was a business opportunity for the community.
"It presents a tremendous opportunity for our First Nation to be further involved in the fisheries," he said. "We're always looking at ways to gain access and new access and this presents a very real opportunity for us to move forward."
Francis said he didn't have many details yet about how the new agreement would work but that the announcement was good for relations between the government and Indigenous peoples.
"We really appreciate the reconciliation work by the Department of Fisheries and the Government of Canada, this is a major step forward for our Indigenous communities in Eastern Canada and the Abegweit First Nation is very pleased to be a part of it."
- MORE P.E.I. NEWS | Three Rivers residents planning next steps in amalgamation fight
- MORE P.E.I. NEWS | With demand for nurse practitioners rising, UPEI looks to keep up