Police say a man is in hospital following the massive fire that completely destroyed a lobster pound being used by Mi’kmaq fishermen in Middle West Pubnico, N.S.
According to Yarmouth County RCMP, fire departments responded to a building fire at a fish plant around midnight.
“The fish plant incurred significant damage, it was not occupied at the time and no employees were injured,” the RCMP said in a press release.
However, police said a man is in hospital with life-threatening injuries believed related to the fire, but did not say who the man was and how he got injured.
Police said the lobster pound is the same one that was swarmed, vandalized and ransacked by a large crowd of non-Indigenous commercial fishers and their supporters Tuesday night.
Tuesday’s incident was the latest in continuing tensions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers in Nova Scotia, with the 1999 Marshall decision standing at the centre of the lobster fishing dispute.
The Supreme Court of Canada in 1999 affirmed a treaty right to hunt, fish and gather in pursuit of a moderate living, something that comes out of the Peace and Friendship treaties of 1760 and 1760.
However, 21 years after the decision was made, and hundreds of years after the Peace and Friendship treaties were established, Mi’kmaq fishers say they are continuing to face roadblocks and barriers in exercising their right to fish in pursuit of a moderate living.
Debris and sparks from the fire flew over people’s houses, says Pierrette d’Entremont, a resident of the area who could see the fire from her home.
“As soon as I saw how big the fire was. I was scared. I have two kids and … I mean, our house is quite far back from the road, but our neighbour in front and the neighbour right next to it are close to the fire,” she says.
“I’m worried about even more violence where there should be a complete stop, in my opinion. The situation’s just too volatile and there are just too many balls in the air,” said d’Entremont.
The RCMP said the investigation has determined the fire to be suspicious and the investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information on the fire is asked to contact Yarmouth District RCMP at 902-742-9106 or Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers.
-With files from Global’s Alicia Draus
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