Cohen recommendations to protect Fraser River Salmon require immediate implementation by DFO

News Release. October 31, 2012
(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver) – On Wednesday, Oct 31st, Honourable Bruce Cohen released his recommendations for improving the sustainability of Fraser River Sockeye Salmon Fishery. Commissioner Cohen recommended a number of changes to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans policies, practices and management in relation to the sustainability of the Sockeye Fishery.

Chief Bob Chamberlin of Kwicksutaineuk/Ak-Kwa-Mish Tribes and Vice-President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs responded “Commissioner Cohen made 75 recommendations with respect to the protection and conservation of wild salmon and the UBCIC calls on the Federal Government to make the necessary investments in the protection of wild salmon on par with the money invested into the aquaculture industry. As illustrated by Cohen, the Federal Government cannot be promoting the aquaculture industry while at the same time mandated to protect wild salmon. Put simply, DFO is in a conflict of interest and needs to immediately freeze fish farming and put the wild salmon policy into effect.”

“Harper’s agenda is clear, through recent omnibus legislation, the Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act and Bill C-45: Jobs and Growth Act the Harper Government has effectively eviscerated the Fisheries Act. The Harper Government cannot ignore this call by Justice Cohen, First Nations and others to ensure the sustainability of the fishery,” stated Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “First Nations rely heavily on the salmon fishery and the continued mismanagement and gutting of the protection measures is not only troubling but will ultimately lead to the complete decimation of the salmon stocks. Wild Salmon is the sustenance of our people and part of First Nations and BC Heritage and must be protected.”

Chief Chamberlin concluded, “Ignoring the protection and conservation policies with respect to wild salmon particularly the wild salmon policy is akin to abandoning the salmon and blatantly disregarding constitutionally protected Aboriginal Title and Rights with respect to the salmon fishery. The Federal Government must immediately implement Cohen’s recommendations and take steps to make the necessary investments to ensure that a collapse of the salmon run does not happen again.”

Chief Bob Chamberlin, (604) 684-0231
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, (604) 684-0231

UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.