The Musgamagw Dzawda’enuxw, Namgis and Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwamis First Nations, in opposition to the possible renewal of fish farm tenure licences in their traditional territory, are currently observing two foreign-owned salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago.
You can help by writing letters urging the federal government to revoke the company’s in-ocean fish farm licences, and the provincial government not to renew their sea floor tenure licences.
Points to emphasize:
- The First Nations community never agreed to having fish farms in their traditional territories.
They have opposed the industry since it was introduced 30-years ago, never signing an agreement with any company operating in its traditional territories.
The provincial and federal government has disregarded the First Nation opposition when issuing these permits. “We want the fish farms removed from our territory and the licences of occupation revoked and suspended immediately.” Chief Ernest Alfred from the Nagmis, Lawit’sis and Mamalilikala nations.
A true act of reconciliation would recognize the First Nation opposition and withdraw the licences.
-The provincial salmon farm tenures are due to expire in June 2018. During the spring election campaign, Hon. Claire Travena, MLA North Island, promised to remove fish farms from the area when she spoke in the Big House in Alert Bay
-The northern Vancouver Island wild fish population is no longer healthy enough to provide these First Nations communities with the food they have relied upon for millennia
-Wild salmon are the backbone of the coast and all life relies on the health of the salmon. They feed the trees that make the oxygen we breath, that in turn stabilizes our environment. They feed (declining numbers are making this harder) the whales, larger mammals and eagles that are indigenous to, and iconic on, this coast
-In-ocean fish farms are feed-lots that concentrate diseases and parasites that are dangerous to the wild salmon stock
-There is real danger of large-scale wild salmon disease that could cause their extinction on our coast
Here is a sample letter:
Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, Fisheries & Oceans Canada
Hon. Doug Donaldson, BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Rachel Blaney, MP, North Island – Powell River
Gord Johns, MP, Courtenay – Alberni
Re: No renewals of fish farm licences
We call on you as our representatives in both provincial and federal governments to act in cooperation to not renew fish farm sea floor tenure and fishing licences on the British Columbia coast, particularly in the Broughton Archipelago territories where the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw nation has not consented to their operation.
The health of communities, the aquaculture and our relations with First Nations are all at risk. There is enough scientific evidence and experience with open net farming to show that it is a considerable danger. We should not wait for a full-on crisis to stop the expansion of this form of the industry.
Please keep us and members of our community informed about your government’s action on this issue.
In the spirit of reconciliation with First Nations, and with respect for the wild salmon and all its dependents on this coast,
For more information:
• “Tensions Rising in Fish Farm Occupations“, Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, 21 Sept, 2017
• “BC First Nations occupy a second fish farm as company raises safety concerns” .Laura Kane, The Canadian Press Posted: Sep 02, 2017 5:18 PM.
• Watch “Salmon Confidential” Also, see Alexandra Morton’s website
• “Cohen Report Card”, Watershed Watch. The $37 million Cohen Commission was the most comprehensive review of Pacific salmon management in Canada. It focusses on the Fraser River, and made 75 recommendations, including limitations on fish farm licences. This site summarizes and tracks the 75 recommendations made in the 2012 report.
• For a deeper dive into the scientific evidence of harm to wild stocks, here is a 2011 bibliography put together by the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform.