March 31, 2023
UBCIC and BCAFN Support the First Nations Wild Salmon Alliance Call for Federal Action on Protecting Wild Salmon
(xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C.)The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) and the BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) welcome the recent advocacy to political leaders in Ottawa by the First Nations Wild Salmon Alliance (FNWSA) which calls for urgent action by federal leaders to protect wild salmon, a precious and vital resource for BC First Nations. This call is supported via resolutions from the UBCIC Chiefs Council and the BCAFN Chiefs-in-Assembly.
In early March, the FNWSA, joined by representatives of over 50 First Nations, spoke in support of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Fish Farm Transition Plan as a pathway to remove all open net pen fish farms from the Pacific coast. This Plan must be based on the precautionary principle with respect to cumulative impacts, the dire state of wild salmon, and the scientific uncertainty around the full extent of harm caused by open net pen farms. All First Nations with an interest in the plan must be fully and meaningfully engaged to ensure the range of positions is adequately incorporated and addressed. First Nations jurisdiction and laws must be included in all planning and decision making in the fisheries sector.
We are in an era of implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Foreign investors and influences cannot continue to sway federal decisions. We cannot sit by and watch wild pacific salmon go extinct with the failure of Crown decisions and industry officials. We have a responsibilityd to current and future generations to protect and preserve wild salmon.
We echo FNWSA in urging the federal government to improve planning and coordination between federal, provincial and First Nations governments. Working closely with First Nations on all aspects of wild salmon protection and revitalization is required under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the governments of Canada and British Columbia have affirmed in law. This work can be supported by mechanisms, such as a Tripartite Fish Farm Transition Planning Table, and should leverage existing budgetary commitments for increased impact.
The FNWSA Ottawa Press Conference is available here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3AWGEh86SY
For further comment please contact:
Annette Schroeter, Communications Officer, BCAFN, Phone: 778-281-1655
Ellena Neel, Communications Manager, UBCIC, Phone: 778-866-0548