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NEWS: Clearwater to be sold to coalition of Mi’kmaq First Nations, Premium Brands Holding

Late yesterday, the Membertou First Nation announced that Clearwater Seafoods is set to be sold to a coalition of Mik’maq First Nations and Premium Brands Holding Corp of B.C.  

Membertou and Miawpukek First Nations (also known by the colonial name of Conne River First Nation in Newfoundland) were the leading First Nations in the coalition and put out a statement yesterday with details of the coalition and the sale. Read the announcement from Membertou First Nation.  

As a predominantly settler organization, the Council of Canadians works to decolonize our own practices and works in solidarity with Indigenous People and communities. We recognize the intense planning and investment that is going into the purchase of Clearwater by those involved, and the huge amount of pride and empowerment felt by many in the Mi’kmaq Nation. 

The moderate livelihood fishery that five different Mi’kmaq First Nations have launched over the past few months is not impacted by this announcement. And the fight with the Federal Government and Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is alive and well.  

As Barbara Low, Mi’kmaw treaty rights holder, put it in a tweet last night,  

“So, the #Clearwater deal has no impact on the #TreatyFishery. Commercial fishing is different than inherent rights to fish. #AllEyesOnMikmaki” 

We wrote a statement supporting the launch of the moderate livelihood fishery, highlighted Clearwater’s irresponsible practices and have provided some analysis about how DFO is taking Mi’kmaq traps. Given this is so new, we are still processing and learning more, but it certainly raises a lot of questions so we will continue watching. 

If you’re looking for additional resources, read this timely article by Naiomi Metallic and Constance MacIntosh published yesterday by Policy Options arguing the federal government and the Crown have acted in a matter that is unconstitutional in the way they have handled the treaty right to fish.