Nova Scotia

4th person charged with assault in Nova Scotia after lobster plants vandalized

A Digby County man has been charged with assaulting a woman two months ago after a fish plant in New Edinburgh, N.S., was vandalized. On Thursday, Meteghan RCMP charged Randy Cyril German, 49, with assaulting a woman on Oct.14.

Three others were charged in October, November

The lobster pound in New Edinburgh, N.S., is shown on Oct. 15, 2020. (Robert Short/CBC)

A Digby County man has become the fourth person to face charges after a fish plant in New Edinburgh, N.S., was vandalized.

On Thursday, Meteghan RCMP charged Randy Cyril German, 49, with assaulting a woman on Oct.14.

German has been released on conditions. He is scheduled to appear in Digby provincial court on Feb. 15, 2021.

It's the fourth charge related to tensions that exploded the day after several hundred commercial lobster fishermen ransacked two lobster plants in southwest Nova Scotia on Oct. 13. Mi'kmaw fishers had been storing their catches in the buildings.

On Nov.14, RCMP charged 74-year-old Yvon Thibault of Digby County with two counts of assault in relation to the Oct. 14 incident. Another man had been arrested earlier for assaulting Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack that same day.

Then on Nov.16, charged 22-year old Kristen Sack of Hants County with one count of assault.

"The events of that day are still being investigated," Sgt. Andrew Joyce, RCMP spokesperson, said Friday.

"We're still actively seeking input by anyone present there, or anyone that has some information."

Joyce said the most recent incident took place sometime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., but could not say whether German knew the woman he allegedly assaulted.

The second plant in Middle West Pubnico was destroyed in a suspicious fire on Oct. 16. Police are seeking the public's help to identify two persons of interest.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Meteghan RCMP at 902-645-2326 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Weeks of unrest

At the time of these incidents, tensions were running high between non-Indigenous commercial fishermen and First Nations fishermen who had started a moderate livelihood lobster fishery outside the federally mandated commercial season.

Commercial fishermen have been accused of damaging Mi'kmaw fishing gear, torching a van and stealing lobster.  

Twenty-one years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the Mi'kmaq had the right to earn a "moderate livelihood" from fishing. The court later said the federal government could regulate the Mi'kmaw fishery but must justify any restrictions it placed on it.

Many commercial lobster fishermen say they consider the new Sipekne'katik fishery in St. Marys Bay illegal and worry that catching lobster outside the mandated season, particularly during the summer spawning period, will negatively impact stocks.

Chief Sack has said the band received a draft memorandum of understanding last week from the office of federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, which at first he called a "big step."

However, on Friday Sack said the band "remains very disappointed in the draft document's intent and content," and called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to step in.