This Mi’kmaq Ecological Knowledge Study, also commonly referred to as a MEKS or a TEKS, was developed by Membertou Geomatics Solutions for the Nova Scotia Department of Energy and Fundy Tidal Inc. Fundy Tidal Inc. plans to install and operate Tidal In-stream Energy Conversion devices, supporting technologies, and infrastructure within the Outer Bay of Fundy and Digby County, Nova Scotia, known as the Outer Bay of Fundy Tidal Energy project.
The objectives of this study are twofold:
- To undertake a broad MEKS for the Bay of Fundy Phase II Area as it may relate to future renewable energy projects (i.e. wind, tidal and wave), specifically in the Phase II Area of the Bay of Fundy), and
- To undertake a more focused MEKS review specific to the Outer Bay of Fundy Energy Project Site and Study Area.
This MEKS mandate has been to consider the land and water area that the project will utilize and identify what is the Mi’kmaq traditional use activity that has or is currently taking place within, and what Mi’kmaq ecological knowledge presently exists in regards to the Project Site, Study Area and Phase II Area. In order to ensure accountability and ethic responsibility of this MEKS, the MEKS development has adhered to the “Mi’kmaq Ecological Knowledge Protocol”. The protocol is a document that has been established by the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs, which speaks to the process, procedures and results that are expected of a MEKS.
The Mi’kmaq Ecological Knowledge Study consisted of two major components:
- Mi’kmaq Traditional Land and Resource Use Activities,both past and present,
- A Mi’kmaq Significance Species Analysis, considering the resources that are important to Mi’kmaq use.
The Mi’kmaq Traditional Land and Resource Use Activities component utilized interviews as the key source of information regarding Mi’kmaq use in the Project Site, Study Area and the Phase II Area.
The Project Site(s) cover an area in the Digby Gut around Bay View, and Victoria Beach; the southern tip of Digby Neck, including East Ferry, Petit Passage, and a northern portion of Long Island including Tiverton to just northeast of Central Grove; the southern tip of Long Island, including Freeport, a northeastern part of Brier Island, including Westport and Peter Island, as well as Grand Passage; as well as a southwest portion of Brier Island, extending into the Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Maine. The Study Area is the area within a five kilometer (5km) radius of the Project Site(s).
The Phase II Area includes areas of the Bay of Fundy directly north, west and south of the Project Sites straddling back through St. Mary’s Bay to Digby Gut. The Phase II Areas also include lands between Bear Cove, Nova Scotia, following a northeast direction to areas just north of the Tobeatic Wilderness Area.
Numerous interviews were undertaken by the MEKS Team with Mi’kmaq hunters, fishers, and plant gatherers, who shared with the team the details of their knowledge of traditional use activities. The interviews took place in February and March, 2012. These informants were shown topographical maps of the Project Site, Study Area and Phase II Area and then asked to identify where they undertake their activities as well as to identify where and what activities were undertaken by other Mi’kmaq. All interviews were voice recorded with permission of the interviewee for the sole purpose of data verification during the analysis to collected information. If permitted by the interviewee, their information was incorporated into the GIS data. These interviews allowed the team to develop a collection of data that reflected the most recent Mi’kmaq traditional use in this area. All interviewee’s names are kept confidential and will not be released by MGS as part of a consent agreement between MGS and the interviewee to ensure confidentiality.
The data gathered was also considered in regards to Mi’kmaq Significance. Each species identified was analyzed by considering their use as food/sustenance resources, medicinal/ceremonial plant resources and art/tools resources. These resources were also considered for their availability or abundance in the areas listed above, and their availability in areas adjacent or in other areas outside of these areas, their use, and their importance, with regards to the Mi’kmaq.
This Mi’kmaq Ecological Knowledge Study has also gathered, documented and analyzed the traditional use activities that have been occurring within the Project Site, Study Area and Phase II Area, by undertaking interviews with individuals who practice traditional use or know of traditional use activities within these areas and reside in the nearby Mi’kmaq communities.
Based on the data documentation and analysis, it was found that the Mi’kmaq have historically undertaken some fishing, hunting, and gathering activities in the Project Site and that this practice continues to occur today. It appears the majority of activity that occurs in the area is the fishing of lobster and mackerel.
Based on the data documentation and analysis, it was concluded that the Mi’kmaq have historically undertaken traditional use activities in the Study Area, and that this practice continues to occur today. These activities primarily involve the harvesting of fish species, but also include plants and animals; all of which occurs in varying locations throughout the Study Area and at varying times of the year.
Lobster was found to be the most fished species in the Study Area. Mackerel and clam were also found to be harvested in the area, but at a somewhat relatively lesser degree. Seal, deer, partridge, pheasant and porpoise were all found to be hunted in the Study Area, but not in enough numbers to determine a primary hunted species. Dulse and sweetgrass were the most harvested plant species that was found within the Study Area.
Phase II Area
Based on the data documentation and analysis, it was concluded that the Mi’kmaq have historically undertaken traditional use activities in the Phase II Area, and that this practice continues to occur today. These activities primarily involve the harvesting of fish species, but also include plants and animals; all of which occurs in varying locations throughout the Phase II Area and at varying times of the year.
Lobster was found to be the most fished species in the Phase II Area. Mackerel and clam were also found to be harvested in the area, but at a somewhat relatively lesser degree. Deer was found to be the most hunted species in the Phase II Area. Rabbit, partridge, seal and other species were also found to be hunted in the Phase II Area, but at a somewhat relatively lesser degree. Dulse and sweetgrass were the most harvested plant species that was found within the Phase II Area.