Letter: Meeting request with Tootoo on B.C. salmon stocks

Re: The damaged state of B.C. wild salmon runs and the implementation of the Cohen Commission recommendations.

Open letter to Hunter Tootoo, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans:

The First Nations Wild Salmon Alliance is writing to request an urgent meeting between the DFO and the First Nations Wild Salmon Alliance (FNWSA) regarding the minimal returns of this year’s wild salmon runs in B.C., the proposed and existing risks to wild salmon habitat, and the implementation of the Cohen Commission recommendations.

By way of background, the FNWSA seeks to bring First Nations together to speak with a common voice for the protection and conservation and enhancement of wild salmon throughout British Columbia. The FNWSA will work to conserve wild salmon, and advocate and support recovery and restoration.

The FNWSA is extremely disappointed and frustrated by the state of B.C.’s wild salmon stocks and the inaction of federal and provincial authorities to enact the recommendations and Calls-to-Action of the Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River.

Wild salmon are integral to many First Nations’ cultures, well being and livelihood, and the protection of our wild salmon stocks is equally integral to the economic and environmental sustainability of the province and country as a whole.

This year, only an estimated two million sockeye have returned to the Fraser River, far short of the more than six million predicted in preseason forecasts. There is an even further dramatic collapse of the pink salmon fishery, with only an estimated five million fish returning when more than 14 million had been forecast.

These drastic shortfalls are even more alarming given that the BC Ministry of Environment recently provided Taseko with permission to increase its discharge of tailings into the Fraser River by more than 50 per cent at the Gibraltar Mine near Williams Lake, which could lead to even further shortfalls in coming years.

Further to the increase of industrial effluents into critical wild salmon habitat we are also baring witness to the BC Ministry of Agriculture’s approval of four new fish farm tenures, despite the Cohen Commission’s recommendation to develop new citing criteria and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans continual promotion of the open-pen fish farm operations of B.C.’s coastline, including the proposed expansion of the Maude Island site, facility number 869, from 860 t to 2640 t. These operations have determined negative consequences on wild salmon.

It is clear to the FNWSA that immediate action must be taken to protect our wild salmon for the benefit of all British Columbians and Canadians. A moratorium on the expansion of all finfish aquaculture ventures along the B.C. coast needs to be implemented until further evidence is gathered on the negative impacts these installations have on our wild salmon. This year’s runs have made it abundantly clear that our wild salmon stocks are in grave danger, and require immediate action to preserve their habitat.

The First Nations Wild Salmon Alliance is calling on the federal government and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, to meet with the FNWSA to discuss the current state of wild salmon stocks, and to discuss the enactment of the Cohen Commission recommendations to safeguard our wild salmon.

Given the urgency of this issue, we look forward to your prompt response.

Chief Bob Chamberlin, chair

The First Nations Wild Salmon Alliance


Just Posted

Vancouver artist rocks to fight opioid crisis

Jeremy Allingham is set to bring his guitar-focused rock ‘n roll to Kelowna April 6, Vernon June 9

World Down Syndrome Day: The up side of Down

A Kelowna family’s journey with Down Syndrome: ‘There is tremendous beauty in these kids’

Kelowna cops crack down on drivers using cell phones

Drivers caught talking or texting behind the wheel now face a fine totalling $543

Okanagan Falls winery showing international photo project

Liquidity Wines will be sole Canadian show of National Geographic’s Photo Ark

West Kelowna mayor meets finance minister to protest speculation tax

Doug Findlater presents Carole James with booklet of info outlining tax’s impact on his city

Crook’s Corner

Arts and entertainment highlights this week across the Okanagan

B.C. Scientists witness first-ever documented killer whale infanticide

“It’s horrifying and fascinating at the same time.”

Lawyer for one suspect in beating of man with autism says he’s not guilty

Ronjot Singh Dhami will turn himself in, lawyer said

Liberals awarded $100,000 contract to man at centre of Facebook data controversy

Christopher Wylie says his voter-profiling company collected private information from 50 million Facebook users

Facebook’s Zuckerberg admits mistakes in privacy scandal

Zuckerberg admits to privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm, but no apology

Rockets’ Foote a finalist for top WHL D-man

Cal Foote named the Western Conference top defenseman; Foote and Dube named all-stars

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

UPDATE: Former B.C. city councillor sentenced nine months for sexual assault

Dave Murray, convicted this past fall, hired a private investigator to intrude on the victim’s life.

Shots fired in Kamloops

Kamloops RCMP are investigating a report of shots fired and a possible explosion at a trailer court

Most Read