Treasure hunter: N.S. not protecting heritage
By Beverley Ware - The Chronicle Herald
A self-described treasure hunter said Nova Scotia is not living up to its obligations to protect its marine cultural heritage.
Robert MacKinnon of Sydney spoke in Halifax Saturday at a small gathering of diving enthusiasts concerned about revisions to the province’s Treasure Trove Act.
The act allows private treasure hunters to keep 90 per cent of the "financially significant" spoils of shipwrecks. The remaining 10 per cent of what is not deemed treasure goes to the province.
The act was implemented in 1954 to deal with prospectors seeking treasure on Oak Island. Some members of the archeological community say it should be thrown out, while its supporters say it provides for plenty of checks and balances and should be left alone. The province has commissioned a review that is not yet complete.
Mr. MacKinnon said he has been involved in about 15 treasure trove recoveries in Nova Scotia through wrecks such as the Auguste and Feversham off Cape Breton. He said he is responsible for 90 per cent of all marine treasure trove that has been handed over for conservation, but he said the province isn’t taking proper care of those artifacts.