A Yarmouth County man has been charged with arson after a vehicle was torched outside a lobster facility in New Edinburgh, N.S.
Meteghan RCMP were called to a disturbance outside the lobster pound Tuesday evening, just one of two locations where several hundred commercial fishermen and their supporters raided facilities where Mi’kmaw fishermen were storing their catches.
Commercial fishermen began gathering Tuesday afternoon in Digby County and made their way to a lobster pound in New Edinburgh, where, by nightfall, lobsters were stolen, the facility was damaged and a van was set ablaze.
The raids come after weeks of unrest in the province’s southwest, sparked by the launch of a “moderate livelihood” lobster fishery by the Sipekne’katik band outside the federally mandated commercial season.
Michael Burton Nickerson, 31, has been charged with arson causing damage to property.
Nickerson was arrested Saturday afternoon, but has been released from custody on conditions.
He is scheduled to appear in Digby provincial court on Dec. 21.
A Digby County man was also charged in the midst of the ongoing dispute over the lobster fishery. Chris Gerald Melanson, 46, has been charged with assault after allegedly grabbing and shoving Sipekne’katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack on Wednesday during an altercation at the lobster pound in New Edinburgh.
RCMP said it has increased its presence in the Meteghan area, including an emergency response team, a critical incident command team and officers from Prince Edward Island who are trained in de-escalation and crowd control.
The investigation is continuing.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Meteghan RCMP at 902-645-2326. Anyone who wants to remain anonymous can call Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), submit a secure web tip or use the P3 Tips App.