The terrible turbulence at the Big Bar landslide site in the Fraser River is stopping fish from migrating upriver to reach spawning grounds. (Courtesy of Incident Command Post)

B.C. First Nations call for closure to commercial, recreational fishing on Fraser River

The B.C. Assembly of First Nations is asking for a closure until the slide at Big Bar can be removed

The B.C. Assembly of First Nations is calling for all commercial and recreational salmon fishing on the Fraser River to stop immediately, in order to help salmon attempting to get through the Big Bar slide.

In a release, regional chief and Pacific chair of the Assembly of First Nations Fisheries Committee Terry Teegee said that all commercial and recreational fishing be closed until the landslide can be cleared.

RELATED: Time of essence as Fraser River slide blocks spawning salmon, feds say

“DFO is mismanaging the fishery and Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Wilkinson must recognize the emergency situation we are all in,” Teegee said.

Roger Augustine, regional chief for New Brunswick/P.E.I. and co-chair of the fisheries committee, agreed.

“First Nations cannot be restricted access to fish while commercial and recreational fishing is allowed to continue,” he said in the release. “We are very familiar with the collapse of the fishery on the east coast and all signs point to mismanagement by the federal government as well as their unwillingness to honour long standing treaties. The same appears to be happening with the west coast fishery.”

Some First Nations fisheries have voluntarily closed because of the slide, which created a five-metre waterfall in the Fraser River, restricting access to salmon’s spawning grounds. Other First Nations food, social and ceremonial fisheries are being restricted, at the same time the unregulated recreational and commercial fisheries are open, the release read.

“We are supportive of all First Nations access to salmon and aquatic resources for their food, social and ceremonial purposes,” national chief Perry Bellegarde added in the release. “The Crown cannot allow recreational and commercial fisheries to trump First Nations fisheries for their communities and Elders. This is a national emergency as it affects all parts life on the west coast.”

These comments echo ones made by Seabird Island’s Tyrone McNeil, who has been working to develop a fisheries plan for the First Nation community near Agassiz.

RELATED: Seabird Island waiting for DFO approval on fishing plan

“We haven’t even been in the water this year,” McNeil said. “It’s significant to us because when we’re on the river fishing, we’re teaching our children how to fish, so we’re passing along inter-generational information about specific areas of the river.”

“DFO is taking that ability away from us to transfer that knowledge in an effective way,” he continued. “I think it’s going to have to come to the point where we get more proactive, and we’re out there in demonstration fisheries to catch DFO’s attention. They’re doing social and cultural harm to us as an entire people.”



grace.kennedy@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

PHOTO: Abbotsford’s dashing first police constable

Police post throwback photo on their social media accounts

Traffic accident on Highway 1

Hour long backup from Abbotsford to Langley

VIDEO: Abbotsford driver uses aisle of bus for rainy-day cardio routine

Driver makes productive use of his break for an on-board walking session

Man at centre of dropped HIV-disclosure case sues province and 10 cops

Brian Carlisle of Abbotsford says Mission RCMP defamed him and were ‘negligent’ in their investigation

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Memorial to deceased teen stays in place through Labour Day

Hundreds of tributes have been left at the Walnut Grove skate park

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

Most Read