The Tsilhqot’in Nation has closed all fishing for Chilcotin River Steelhead.
Citing an 81% population decline in stocks, the Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) says it’s also forgoing its Aboriginal right to fish Steelhead for food, social, and ceremonial purposes.
TNG Tribal Chair Chief Joe Alphonse says it was a tough, but necessary decision.
The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) earlier this year said both the Thompson and Chilcotin Steelhead populations are at imminent risk of extinction due to ocean conditions and bycatch from commercial fisheries.
The TNG is calling on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to eliminate bycatch from commercial Pacific salmon fisheries.
The Tsilhqot’in also expect the federal and provincial governments to engage in a nation-to-nation conversation about the future of the Chilcotin River Steelhead as well as the impact any decisions may have on their Aboriginal rights.