Local First Nations leaders assert the right to food, social and ceremonial (FSC) harvesting in Tyee Pool – Campbell River Mirror
Representatives from two local First Nations expressed disappointment with comments made in response to a Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) fishing advisory advising anglers of their right to harvest chinook in Tyee Basin and the surrounding waters.
A DFO fishing advisory issued August 12 informed recreational fishermen that food, social and ceremonial (FSC) fishing for chinook salmon could take place in the waters off Campbell River (Subarea 13-5, in particular) , which includes Tyee Basin, famous for recreational fishing using restricted gear and non-motorized boats. According to the advice, the FSC harvest can use motor boats during the day and gillnets between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.
After being posted on social media, the notice caused a stir, with some comments questioning the fairness of FSC rights, scientific support for DFO policy and the sustainability of using gillnets to harvest salmon. stopover for spawning.
But the right to fish for FSC purposes is a right protected by Article 35 of the Constitution for designated Indigenous fishermen to catch what they need, including with the use of modern equipment. This right is communal, with FSC fishing licenses issued to Indigenous nations, who can then designate members to fish under it.
First Nations have had FSC access to the Campbell River and the Tyee Pool since the early 1990s, according to Lara Sloan, DFO communications advisor, in an email. But this is the first time that a fishing notice has been published, she added.
However, the release – and the ensuing turmoil – was not necessary as We Wai Kum members are not planning an FSC harvest in the Tyee Pool, although they have the right to do so, the adviser said. Chief Chris Roberts, in a press release.
“DFO took the plunge and needlessly issued this press release, as there is currently no intention to exercise our fishing rights in the Tyee Pool, near the mouth of the Campbell River, so everyone is ‘pissed off for nothing,’ said Roberts.
But in the same statement, We Wai Kai chief advisor Ronnie Chickite said FSC harvesting may become more common locally.
“We haven’t had to fish here recently because our people could harvest enough salmon across the land and in Johnstone Strait,” Chickite said. “However, with the dire situation of Fraser River salmon, we are doing our part for conservation and not fishing these stocks. For these reasons, expect to see us increasingly exercise our rights and obligations to steward resources in several small river systems across our territory, with the Campbell and Quinsam river system being one of the main ones.
DFO has worked directly with Nations over the past two years to develop a fishing plan for access and harvesting methods in the Campbell and Quinsam rivers, including the Tyee Basin, Sloan said. This plan describes where, when and how the fishery will take place, as well as the process for reporting chinook salmon caught.
“We have worked in collaboration with DFO to establish a better fishing plan and better management of the resource for the future, but everyone must understand and respect that we have always had the right to harvest salmon on our territory. and that includes the ability to do so in the so-called “Tyee Pool,” Roberts said.
Members of the Tyee Club of British Columbia will continue to share the Tyee Pool in a safe and courteous manner that allows all users to enjoy the area, Roger Gage, club president, said in an email.
“We hope to work with the We Wai Kai and Wei Wai Kum First Nations in pursuing our common interest in ensuring that current and future salmon stocks in the Campbell and Quinsam River systems are strengthened for future generations,” said Gage. .
RELATED: Over 200 Illegal Fishing Nets Seized From Fraser River By Fishery Officers
Salmon cross Fraser River landslide as officials consider permanent solution