SAULNIERVILLE, N.S. — RCMP arrested and later released two men for alleged assaults on Saturday after police responded to what they described as "an assembly" at a fishing wharf in southwestern Nova Scotia.
The Mounties say eight officers from six detachments attended a protest by a group of people gathered at the Saulnierville Wharf road.
RCMP spokesman Const. Guillaume Tremblay said police couldn't provide further details on the reason for the gathering of about 30 people, or whether there were conflicts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers during the afternoon protest.
The wharf on St. Mary's Bay was the scene of confrontation between Indigenous fishers and commercial fishers in September 2020 when the Sipekne'katik First Nation launched a self-regulated lobster fishery.
Investigators say while the officers were at Saturday's gathering they saw a 34-year-old Digby County man assaulting another man, after being pushed.
Police say a few minutes later another man grabbed another person by the neck, and a 29-year-old from Hants County was also arrested.
The two men who were allegedly assaulted were uninjured and investigators said they requested that charges not proceed. The RCMP release says the 34-year-old and 39-year-old men were later released and apologized to the victims.
Tremblay said Mounties will remain in the community to "promote public safety."
Tensions have been mounting this summer in southern Nova Scotia over unauthorized lobster fishing, and the province's fisheries minister has said he intends to increase the maximum fine to $1 million for commercial buyers who are caught selling out-of-season lobster.
As of last week, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans said it had seized 464 traps for non-compliance with the Fisheries Act in two fishing areas in southwestern Nova Scotia known as LFAs 33 and 34.
The department also said it arrested two people from Saulnierville, N.S., in Moncton, N.B., last Wednesday and seized more than 8,000 lobsters caught in southwestern Nova Scotia, which were returned to the ocean.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 10, 2023.
The Canadian Press