Elver nets in Maine, where fishing the baby eels is legal but highly regulated. Photo: smilla4
Environment | Law | National

Shinnecock Nation citizen cites treaty in battle over fishing rights




David Taobi Silva, a citizen of the Shinnecock Nation, has been charged by the state of New York for fishing on his tribe's aboriginal territory.

Silva is accused of violating the state's ban on harvesting elvers, which are baby eels that can fetch high prices in Asia. But he is citing the 1664 Fort Albany Treaty, as well as historic deeds that promised his people the right to “freely to fish in any or all the cricks and ponds" in their usual and accustomed areas.

“We’ve been fishing here forever, so it’s hard for me to understand that it has suddenly become illegal for Shinnecock people,” Silva told The New York Times.

Silva is seeking to have the charges dismissed. He is due back in court on March 19, The Southampton Press reported.

Read More on the Story:
Indians in the Hamptons Stake Claim to a Tiny Eel With a Big Payday (The New York Times February 1, 2018)
Shinnecock Tribal Member Continues Fight To Fish In Court (The Southampton Press January 24, 2018)
Former Shinnecock leader asserts ancient fishing rights (Newsday January 6, 2018)