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The Eastern Shore’s lobster fishery has once again been marred by violence.
On Saturday afternoon RCMP responded to a brawl in Little Harbour stemming from a longstanding dispute between two families over lobster fishing grounds.
“The dispute resulted in two men going to the home of another man to confront him,” reads the RCMP account of the fight.
“Two more men arrived, and a physical altercation ensued, with some of the parties involved using weapons, including a wrench, a golf club, and a baseball bat.”
Two men were taken to hospital and a woman received minor injuries as a result of the fight.
On Tuesday the RCMP confirmed that they’ve charged 49-year-old Little Harbour fisherman Colin McKay with assault with a weapon, mischief and breach of an undertaking. His son, Ryan McKay, has been charged with assault, uttering threats and breach of an undertaking. A 33-year-old Southwest Cove man also faces a charge of assault with a weapon, but the RCMP won’t release his name until after he appears July 24 in Dartmouth provincial court.
As last year’s Eastern Shore fishing season was rocked by boat rammings and assaults on land, five Little Harbour fishermen invited The Chronicle Herald to their community to complain about Colin McKay’s behaviour on both land and water.
Another day in little harbour. Today it was my turn. When is this gonna end.Posted by Cory Laybolt on Monday, May 21, 2018
“I said a long time ago that I’m not going to jail for him,” said Seldon Keating, who is one of three community members with a peace bond against McKay.
A search of court records last spring found that over the past 15 years, court orders have been issued against McKay demanding he have no contact with 11 people in the community of about 70 souls.
Dating back to 2002, McKay has five convictions ranging from assault to uttering threats to violating probation.
He’s also not allowed on the government wharf, where nine of Little Harbour’s 11 lobster boats are tied up. Four fishermen in Little Harbour confirmed that they carried video cameras with them last season to record their interactions with McKay.
“I don’t want to be the bad guy and I don’t want to make no arguments,” McKay told The Chronicle Herald last year when asked about the accusations against him.
“I just want to make a little living.”
On Saturday Donald Stevens watched the RCMP cruisers arrive at McKay’s yard where the brawl allegedly took place.
“I’m scared the same thing will happen here that happened down there in Cape Breton,” Stevens said Tuesday, refferring to the 2013 killing of Phillip Boudreau over a lobster dispute
“You can only take so much.”
The 85-year-old retired fisherman said he reported McKay to the RCMP for threatening him while he was fishing with a rod and reel off the Little Harbour wharf five years ago.
“It’s awful, it’s awful,” said Stevens.
“It’s a small community and it would be a nice community if it weren’t for them. You go ahead and put my name in the paper. I’m not afraid of the likes of him.”