Police presence grows in Saulnierville, N.S.

HALIFAX —
On Sunday in Saulnierville, Nova Scotia, rubble continued to smoulder at a lobster pound – the scene of a fire police say is suspicious. However, in contrast to days prior, tensions between fishermen in the community seemed calm – thanks to a larger police presence guarding the Sipekne’katik First Nation’s catch and boats.

“We’re very grateful for that,” says Sipekne’katik chief, Michael Sack. “Our main concern is the water. We have people out there exercising their right, and that’s being infringed upon.”

Following Sack’s criticism of police for not doing enough, more police are in the area – as well as news of a second arrest in relation to recent incidents in the region.

On Saturday, RCMP arrested 31-year-old Michael Burton Nickerson of Yarmouth and charged him with arson in connection with a vehicle fire. The burned-out vehicle now sits idle outside a pound where the First Nation keeps its catch.

“Our presence has grown each day since the events on October 13,” says Sgt. Andrew Joyce of the RCMP.

“I think that’s great, but that’s just a fraction of what needs to happen,” says Sack of the arrest.

In Middle West Pubnico, the fire has left the facility’s owner with a lot of questions. Ken Situ says he loaned keys to the facility to someone to clean up the facility before the season starts. He says he buys lobster from a commercial dealer and ships it overseas. However, concerning his relationship with the First Nation, he says he is not working with or buying lobster from the community.

“Our people, they deal with people who occupy that facility; but now nobody wants to be associated with us due to the threats that are going on in the community,” says Sack. “They’re turning on each other, and it’s very unfortunate.”

Maritime Fishermen’s Union spokesperson, Ruth Innis, says more enforcement needs to be on the water – noting another protest is being planned outside the Department of Fisheries and Oceans office in Barrington Passage, N.S., on Monday.

“This isn’t about race; this is about sustainability and conservation,” says Innis. “This is about working together and keeping our communities safe.”

Meanwhile, the status of a man who was injured in Friday night’s fire in West Pubnico is unknown – and police aren’t releasing that information due to privacy reasons

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Sarah Plowman

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