June 1, 2023
A Call for Urgent Action on Wild Salmon Day
(xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C. – June 1, 2023) Four years after Wild Salmon Day was established, wild salmon are in an increasingly desperate state and facing extinction along the West Coast. The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) celebrates and honors our salmon relatives and urges all levels of government to take immediate and drastic action to protect wild salmon.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC President, stated, “First Nations have sounded the alarm on the state of wild salmon for decades and long identified the implications of government actions, allowing for ever-more degradation of salmon habitat and over-fishing by industry regardless of the evidence. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has failed its obligations to preserve fisheries for future generations, implement the precautionary principle and cease infringing on the inherent and constitutionally protected rights of First Nations to fish for social, ceremonial and food purposes. Despite the dismal state of wild salmon, we will not give up and continue to fight for the survival of wild salmon and preservation of our culture.”
“We know that wild salmon stocks are collapsing due to a combination of stressors and the cumulative impacts of shortsighted, unscientific, and unilateral government decision-making,” continued Chief Dalton Silver, UBCIC Fisheries Representative. “At this dire point, the only path forward for Canada and BC is full recognition and respect for the jurisdiction of First Nations in all aspect of fisheries management. First Nations are dedicated to the preservation of wild salmon, and Canada cannot afford the legal consequences of extinguishing our rights. We must act now, in full partnership between First Nations and all levels of government, to protect and rebuild what is left of the dwindling salmon stocks.”
Chief Don Tom, UBCIC Vice-President, said “DFO is in blatant violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which is clear that First Nations have a right to conserve, protect and control the productive capacity of our territories and resources, and our spiritual relationship to our waters and wild salmon that we must preserve for future generations. Despite this, DFO continues to exclude First Nations from scientific and decision-making processes and sanctions the ongoing infringement on our title and rights. We again call on the Prime Minister to step in and take immediate action to prevent the extinction of wild salmon and extinguishment of our rights.”
“To this day and since time immemorial, First Nations have preserved our sacred relationship with wild salmon,” concluded Chief Marilyn Slett, UBCIC Secretary-Treasurer. “Wild salmon are foundational to every aspect of our lives and culture, and for millennia we lived in balance and harmony with our salmon relatives. The extinction of wild salmon will devastate our cultures, communities, and future generations – it is disgraceful and abhorrent that the BC and Canadian governments continue this colonial cycle of disrespect and exploitation of our territory, resources, and way of life.”
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, 250-490-5314
Chief Don Tom, Vice-President, 604-290-6083
Chief Marilyn Slett, Secretary-Treasurer, 250-957-7721
UBCIC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
For more information please visit www.ubcic.bc.ca