RCMP ask for public's help identifying persons of interest in fish plant fire
Police say cause of blaze that destroyed plant in Middle West Pubnico was arson
The RCMP are seeking the public's help to identify two men captured on video around the same time as a suspicious fire that destroyed a fish plant in Middle West Pubnico, N.S., two weeks ago.
Police later determined the cause of the fire was arson. No one was inside the plant at the time.
The video was taken by a security camera attached to the fish plant, said Sgt. Andrew Joyce.
It shows what appears to be two men, one of whom is barefoot and wearing shorts, at about midnight on Oct. 16. RCMP say they are persons of interest in the arson case.
It appears the fire was already set when the video was taken, said Joyce.
The day after the fire, police said a man was in hospital with life-threatening injuries believed to be related to the blaze. They described the man as a person of interest in the case.
Joyce would not say Friday if the injured man was either of the men in the video.
He said a large police presence remains on the scene.
"We're getting feedback from many people involved that the police presence is positive and welcomed," said Joyce.
At the time of the fire, 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 First Nations 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.
Anyone with information on the fish plant fire is asked to contact Yarmouth District RCMP at 902-742-9106 or Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
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