First Nations along the Skeena River worry that the DFO plan to protect Chinook stocks won’t provide enough salmon for their food fishery and threatens the future of the species.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced curtailments of the North Coast sport and commercial marine fisheries by 25-35 percent which took effect June 1.
The North Coast Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society says the cuts don’t go far enough to help rebuild stocks, while at the same time, they say First Nations are being required to limit their harvest of Chinook to numbers averaged between 2012 and 2016.
The society says what’s more concerning is that marine sport fisheries on the North Coast have been allowed to exploit
Skeena & Nass Chinook as usual up until June 1.
It says Canada’s actions run contrary to the policy that prioritizes First Nations access to salmon for food, social and ceremonial purposes guaranteed under the Constitution, which is only trumped by conservation.
“How can we believe the Trudeau government’s statements about the importance of its relationship with Canada’s Indigenous peoples when it allows non-First Nations fishers to take salmon from our people? This is not just our battle; First Nations on the Fraser are also fighting for their priority access to Chinook.” says Charlie Muldon, Coordinator of Gitksan Watershed Authorities.
First Nations say they will again ensure that their harvest of Skeena sockeye and Chinook in 2018 will not compromise the conservation of the wild component of stocks.
They’re urging DFO to change the 2018 management plan.