How many livelihoods depend on the vitality of the Cape Breton’s freshwater and marine fisheries? Here is a look at what the fishing is like from the shores of the Bras d’Or, near Sydney, the second largest urban area in the province of Nova Scotia.
What an invaluable resource that provides such enjoyment for so many people. This resource has been an important part of the diets and economies of the local human population, long before European settlement. A researcher who spent four summers studying the ecological management around the Bras d’Or Lakes, reports that when settlers first arrived on Cape Breton, Unama’kik “was the most important district of the Aboriginal Mi’kmaq polity”[i] . Historical records describe “an advanced, ecologically sustainable Mi’kmaq culture with representative political institutions, sophisticated technologies adapted to the unique ecology of the region, and standards of health and morality by many accounts more advanced than those of the Europeans whom the Mi’kmaq initially welcomed to the island…There is evidence that Mi’kmaq resource use included some forms [of] ecological micro-management, such as the construction and maintenance of fish ponds”[i]. We’re a fortunate community today, to have guidance and leadership from the aboriginal community on managing and protecting the vitality of our water.
We all have a part to play when it comes to protecting our invaluable natural resources, and there are so many ways you can be involved. There are many people working to make positive changes in communities all around the Lakes and beyond. Join us! Come out to a meeting, attend an event, volunteer, make a donation, show your support for keeping the Bras d’Or an ecologically sustainable community.
[i] Hipwell, William T. “Preventing Ecological Decline in the Bras d’Or Bioregion: The State Versus the Mi’KMaq ‘Metamorphosis Machine’.” The Canadian Journal of Native Studies XXIV (2004): 253-281.