On April 18, the Canadian Federal Government and the Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government announced that they have agreed to a landmark plan to advance reconciliation in the fisheries.

The five-year renewable Rights Reconciliation Agreement on Fisheries addresses areas of mutual interest and will help foster improved relationships with, and outcomes for, the Listuguj Mi’gmaq community by:

Upholding the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision regarding Mi’gmaq First Nations’ Treaty right to harvest and sell fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood, supported by collaborative discussions founded in mutual respect and understanding.

Reducing socio-economic gaps by supporting the Listuguj Mi’gmaq’s capacity to participate in the fisheries — with the goal of economic self-reliance — by obtaining additional fisheries access, such as through licences and quota, as well as vessels and gear.

Establishing a co-developed and collaborative approach to fisheries governance.

This agreement was reached in the spirit of collaboration and in a manner consistent with section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the federal Principles Respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples.

This includes, among other things, recognition of the inherent jurisdiction and legal orders of Indigenous nations, and that these are the starting point for discussions aimed at interactions between federal and Indigenous jurisdictions and laws, including those related to fisheries.

The Agreement will advance the implementation of rights and make real progress on issues of great importance to the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation. Having a long-term agreement in place will not only benefit the Listuguj First Nation, it will also assist the broader fishing communities in Quebec and New Brunswick by helping provide for stable, predictable and sustainable fisheries for all harvesters in the region.

The Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government is one of eight Mi’gmaq communities in Gespe’gewa’gi, all of which have a treaty right to hunt, fish and gather for a “moderate livelihood,” as confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1999 Marshall decisions.

Initial discussions between the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation and the Government of Canada on the Rights Reconciliation Agreement on Fisheries began in 2018.