Chinook salmon. Undated file photo

Illegal salmon selling claim disputed by Cheam chief Ernie Crey

Feds are dragging their feet on renewing a deal that would make sales legal, Crey said

A warning by the federal fisheries department that illegal salmon selling was “rampant and open” in the Lower Mainland, especially Langley, is being disputed by Cheam chief Ernie Crey, a long-time First Nations fishing rights activist.

Crey said federal authorities have been dragging their feet on renewing an agreement that allows legal selling of salmon by First Nations people along the Fraser River.

“We wouldn’t be in this predicament if the agreement had been signed,” Crey said.

READ MORE: Illegal salmon selling “rampant and open” in Langley, fisheries department says

He was responding to a statement issued last week by a spokesperson for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region, who said there has been a “significant volume of public complaints around rampant and open illegal sales of fresh salmon.”

“These sales not only represent a significant risk to human health, they also pose a considerable risk to salmon stocks that are vulnerable,” the statement said.

Crey said since 1992, an “Economic Opportunity” that allows legal salmon selling by First Nations has been renewed virtually every fishing season, but this year, it has been delayed several weeks past the usual signing date.

“It’s sitting on someone’s desk in Ottawa,” Crey said.

“Why, I’m not exactly sure.”

Crey said First Nations people are selling salmon without a signed agreement because they assume it was renewed as usual.

“It (renewal of the agreement) has kind of become routine for our fishermen,” said Crey.

With no sales agreement in place, fisheries officers have to lay charges, Crey added.

The chief also disputed the claim that the selling could put salmon stocks at risk, saying licences for sport and commercial fishermen are in the process of being issued, something that would not happen if there were concerns about salmon numbers on the Fraser River.

“That fishery is closely monitored,” Crey said.

READ ALSO: Culvert design aimed at saving salmon in Langley Township

In response to a query from the Times, Leri Davies, a spokesperson for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region, said negotiations with a number of indigenous groups on “agreements that include the allowance to sell some quantum of fish” in the Lower Fraser are underway.

“These negotiations started preseason and are at various stages at the current time and staff are working to finalize and come to agreements where possible within the week,” Davies said.

“As always, it is the responsibility of everyone who fishes, or sells fish and fish products, to know the regulations for the type of activity they plan to do.”



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Chinook salmon. Undated file photo

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Candlelight Parade lights up downtown Mission

Thousands of people come out to enjoy holiday tradition

It’s a Wonderful Breakfast fundraiser comes to Mission

The event, on Dec. 12, is hosted by the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation

SUV on fire on Highway 1 between Abbotsford and Chilliwack

Emergency crews on scene and blocking the right lane

VIDEO: Abbotsford donair restaurant catches fire

Donairo’s on McCallum Street site of kitchen fire

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Four men in hospital after early morning Vancouver stabbing

A large group of men was seen fighting in Yaletwon

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Brain injury from domestic abuse a ‘public health crisis,’ says B.C. researcher

Nearly 80% of the domestic violence victims who reported to police last year were women

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Most Read