Officials investigating 'suspicious' boat fire in Weymouth
Vessel was up on a slip after being painted when the fire broke out Thursday morning
The RCMP and the Office of the Fire Marshal are investigating a "suspicious" fire on a lobster boat in Weymouth, N.S.
It is not clear whether there is any connection to recent tensions in the area over an Indigenous lobster fishery in St. Mary's Bay.
"I don't know and I can't say," said Weymouth fire Chief Roy Mullen.
Firefighters were called to the scene at 7:20 a.m. Thursday and were able to limit the damage to the boat's wheelhouse, Mullen said. The vessel was up on a slip after being painted when the fire broke out.
The boat is still "floatable," Mullen said.
Because of the potential of arson, he said the fire marshal's office will be investigating.
While the Mounties are taking lead on the investigation, a spokesperson with the fire marshal's office confirmed it will be onsite Friday "at the request of the RCMP."
"I can confirm that we are investigating a suspicious fire on a boat in Weymouth," added RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jennifer Clarke.
Protests last month
Tensions have been high in southwest Nova Scotia in recent weeks, with non-Indigenous fishermen protesting at the wharves about what they say is the illegal sale of lobster by some First Nations fishermen.
Last month, large piles of dead, dried-up lobsters were found dumped near Weymouth.
The situation has angered non-Indigenous fishermen in the area whose season is closed, and they have demanded that the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans enforce its rules and stop the illegal sale of lobster.
Lobster landed under a food, social and ceremonial fishery cannot be sold.
DFO has said it is investigating the allegations of illegal fishing. On Thursday, Morley Knight, DFO's manager for the Maritimes, said efforts to monitor activities in the area continue.
"We are continuing our investigation into a number of areas where we found lobsters to be discarded," he said. "We are also continuing our investigation into what lobsters are being sold and processed through the various buyers and processers in the area."
No charges have yet been laid related to the illegal lobster-fishing allegations.