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First Nations have their own legal authority to regulate their fishing rights – Policy Options

The Crown has failed to live up to its duty to protect treaty rights of the L’nuk. But fishing can be regulated under L’nuk legal principles.

October 22, 2020

It has been 21 years since Donald Marshall Jr. was acquitted by the Supreme Court of Canada of illegal fishing under Canada’s federal fishing laws and regulations. His defence was that the Peace and Friendship Treaties of 1760-61 provided him with a treaty right to harvest and sell fish.

The courts have stated that Indigenous rights cases are very difficult to litigate as they usually arise out of a criminal or quasi-criminal regulatory breach and are not well suited for litigation. The message is: Indigenous rights should be negotiated, not litigated.

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