Thursday, June 22, 2017

NDP MP Cullen points to DFO as the problem when it comes to Northwest fishery

Nathan Cullen spoke to issues
of the fishing and forest sectors
in the House on Wednesday
The recent announcement from DFO of a closure for salmon fishing on the Skeena River to all but First Nations fishers has NDP MP Nathan Cullen pointing to past decisions from the federal agency as the root cause that has led to the problems of today.

In a statement from last week, the Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP took note of the impact that the closure will have, as well as to where he believes that concerns for the fishery should be directed.

“Shuttering the fishery to sport and recreational fishers for such a chunk of the season will have a crushing economic impact on the entire Northwest,” ... “Rampant cuts to hatcheries, stock protection and enhancement, as well as outrageous overfishing by international harvesters, are what really need to be attacked to protect our precious wild salmon resource, instead of targeting Northwest residents and visitors.”

The MP also calls for additional resources when it comes to management of the fishery, including the need for more DFO officers to police ocean and river fishing.

On the theme of policing, Mr. Cullen observes that tempers could rise on local rivers that aren't affected by the Skeena closure over the next number of weeks as those taking to the water look for spots to fish, he also anticipates that there will be increased levels of fishing off shore of the North Coast during the closure.

Mr. Cullen reiterated his support for the right of First Nations to harvest for traditional food and ceremonial purposes, which in the case of the most recent DFO announcement will allow for those First Nations members to harvest Chinook, pink and chum salmon during the Skeena closure.

That right has been enacted as law for a number of years, retaining access for First Nations to their fishery.

In addition to the full closure of the Skeena River until mid July, DFO previously had announced that there would be no sockeye fishery on the River due to predicted low returns, that closure will remain in effect unless there are indications of an improved sockeye run as the summer season moves forward.

The full statement from the Skeena MP can be reviewed here.

DFO Fishery Notices can be found here.

The BC Sport Fishing guide can be found here.

Yesterday in the House of Commons, Mr. Cullen followed up on his thoughts when it comes to fishery and lumber resources in Northwest BC, revisiting some of his themes as part of the final Question Period in Ottawa prior to the summer break.

More items related to the fishery on the North Coast can be found on our archive page.

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