Mi’kmaw community where harvesters died asked for delay in season prior to boat sinking

DFO turned down request saying season would start early because of ‘protocol.’

The fisheries manager for Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick says the community asked the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to delay the opening of the crab season days before a boat capsized off Cape Breton killing two crew members.

According to Dawn Levi, the season started too early and a request was made to delay it.

“We had a call last Thursday, on the call were industry representatives including DFO, I requested a delay in the season until it was safe for all our boats to be out there,” Levi told APTN News.

The community wanted the season delayed because there was still ice on the water making it a hazard for harvesters.

According to Levi, DFO said the season was starting because of “protocol.”

It was on the first day that the Tyhawk sank off the eastern edge of Nova Scotia.

Four crew members were rescued.

Seth Monahan died – and officials are still searching for the body of captain Craig Sock who is presumed drowned.

Former Elsipogtog chief Susan Levi-Peters said everyone was worried about the fishers.

“The federal government, the DFO is not listening to our people,” she said. “They continue to make their own rules and regulations putting fishermen’s lives in jeopardy.”

On Wednesday, community members drummed in memory of the fishers – and in the hopes Sock will be returned home.

The RCMP are conducting an aerial search with the help of the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry.

“We’re hoping that they are going to continue because we need to bring our captain back home,” said Levi-Peters.

The Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

APTN asked DFO about the request to delay the season. A spokesperson sent back an emailed statement that did not address the question.

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