Like all First Nations in the Atlantic Region, Tobique has also been a participant in the Marshall Fishery, of which is based on the 1999 Supreme Court ruling that affirmed our treaty rights to the commercial fishery. Currently our fishery includes 10 lobster licenses (Grand Manan), 6 mid-bay and 5 full bay scallop licenses (Digby), three commercial sea urchin licenses (Grand Manan), bluefin tuna (Scotia Fundy) and groundfish (Yarmouth).
As a result of our participation in Marshall our commercial fishery today remains one of the largest indigenous commercial fisheries in the Atlantic Region. With a 2016 valuation of over $12 million for our collective commercial licenses, Tobique continues to build, develop and operate our commercial fisheries to levels of success that has enabled Tobique to offset other program expenditures as well as directly invest our revenues into existing and new Tobique ventures.
Specifically investments into the new gas bar (Shell), Truleaf and in 2019 major investments into our fisheries accommodations and training facility on Grand Manan, scheduled to reopen in the fall of 2020. This facility will be the home base for our community members to use as they work under our commercial fisheries operations.
Our fishery is run by a committee which includes the following:
Chief Ross Perley, Cyril Perley, Jasmine Pirie, John Perley, Shawn Deveau, Leonard Nicholas, Edwin Bernard, Cindy Theriault and Jennifer Sappier. Tobique has engaged the services of Eric Christmas who provides development advice and services to the committee as they grow our operation. Mr. Christmas is from Membertou and has negotiated two Marshall fisheries agreements, worked for DFO for 5 years as well as led the First Nations Corporate Division for the Barry Group.
Future plans include (but not limited to) the following:
- New vessel acquisition 2020
- Secure glass eel quota 2021
- Complete and reopen Tobique Accommodations and Training Center (2020)
- Assist in the development of a glass eel aquaculture operation, via partnership with Novaeel (2021-2023)
- Develop a hybrid bait and cold storage operation on Grand Manan (2020-2021)
- Train and employ a minimum of 10 Tobique band members to work in our commercial fisheries (2020-2021)
In 2018 Tobique began a process in which we are now acquiring our own vessels so that we take an even greater control of our fisheries and begin to replace decades of royalty-based partnerships and eventually assume total control of our operations in the Atlantic.
Below is a image of the Princess Paisley which will soon to be renamed the “Chief Dennis Nicholas”, purchased in October 2018. The vessel is currently fishing in Grand Manan and contains state of the art electronics and bunks for our crews.