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The Mi’kmaq has a strong history of fishing in Epekwitk, the traditional Mi’kmaq name for Prince Edward Island. The Abegweit First Nations Band has long considered fisheries as a way of life for its members and over the past forty years the Band has seen significant growth in this industry. It has become the major employer within the Band and with some assistance can become a major financial contributor to the Abegweit First Nations.

Oyster fishing in Tracadie Quahogs fishing in Ten Mile House Clam Fishing, 15-20 commercial eel spearing licenses

Supreme Court Sparrow decision recognized the right to fish for food, social and ceremonial purposes.

The Aboriginal Transfer Program (ATP) provided commercial access to lobster, herring, scallop, clams and oyster. Abegweit acquired two fishing vessels for this new access. The Band fished lobster and herring out of Georgetown and lobster and scallop out of Wood Islands. The Aboriginal Fishing Strategy (AFS) provided annual funding to maintain the fishing management for the Band.

The Supreme Court Marshall decision recognized the right to fish for a “moderate livelihood”. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans responded to this decision with a new “Marshall” program through which bilateral “interim” Agreements were signed between DFO and individual First Nations. These Agreements were designed to provide First Nations with capacity support to access the livelihood fishery, namely; vessels, fishing gear, and training. A condition of support was agreement to follow Federal policies and regulations for the period of the Agreement.

-2002 & 2004
The Abegweit First Nation signed interim “Marshall” Agreements. The Band has increased the level of employment and income through greater participation in the livelihood fishery over this time.

The Band is fishing 10 vessels fishing eight lobster licenses and its snowcrab quota. It has also acquired various assets such as a fenced boat yard, floating docks, 10 Vessel Monitoring Systems, barns for storage and fishing equipment.

The Band invested in renovating old gymnasium into a Marine Maintenance Shop.

The Band has invested in upgrading its Lobster and Snowcrab fishing gear and spent major expenses in repairing vessels.

The Commercial Fisheries Enterprise (CFE) employs 50 + Band members employed on the vessels, off loading crews, maintenance and administration.

Under the Chief and Council guidance the CFE has employed a Fisheries Director and Fleet Manager under an Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy Agreement signed with DFO.

The CFE also established a Community Advisory Committee that worked closely with the Mi’kmag Confederacy of PEI and AAROM advisors to assist management in the creation of a Fisheries Management Plan which will guide future fishing activities.

Location: Scotchfort, PE
Key Contact and Title: Roger Sark – Natural Resource Director
Phone #: 902-676-2353 ext 108
Fax #: 902-676-3206
E-mail: fisheries@abegweitfirstnations.com

Physical Address:
11222 St Peters Hwy
Scotchfort, PE C0A 1T0

Mailing Address:
Box 36 Mt. Stewart, PE C0A 1T0