(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, B.C. – May 14, 2018) Citing dangerously low numbers of wild salmon returns, the recreational salmon fishery in the Skeena River has been forced to completely shut down. A ban has also been placed on recreational salmon fisheries in the Nass River watershed, with further limits being placed across various salmon fisheries along the entire north coast.
Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, states, “Wild salmon are quickly being pushed into extinction. A central impactor on the health of wild salmon is the continued imposition of open-net pen Atlantic salmon fish farms on migratory routes of wild salmon. If we are to protect this valuable species, BC and Canada must immediately move to relocate these fish farms from migratory paths to land-based containment facilities.”
In the last few years Canada and BC have received an abundance of information on the risks that salmon farms pose to wild salmon populations, including the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Finfish Aquaculture, the report of the Auditor General of Canada on Salmon Farming, the results of numerous independent and government funded, peer reviewed, scientific studies, the Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River and the voice of Indigenous leaders throughout BC. To ignore such a wealth of information and the numerous calls to both adopt the precautionary principle and to relocate the salmon aquaculture industry to land-based facilities would be a significant dereliction of duty to protect our salmon, our environment and the economy, health and culture of Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities throughout BC.
Bold action is needed to ensure the continued survival of wild salmon in BC. First Nations are ready to work with the Provincial and Federal Governments, through a nation-to-nation process as affirmed by the UN Declaration, to support the relocation of open net-pen salmon farms to land-based closed containment facilities to ensure
Media inquiries: Bob Chamberlin, Union of BC Indian Chiefs Phone: (250) 974-8282