Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Coastal First Nations and Federal Government reach Fisheries management agreement

Seven North and Central Coast First Nations have signed a Reconciliation Framework Agreement with the Federal Government that will outline the subject areas ahead for nation to nation discussions.

With the ultimate plan one to deliver a more collaborative approach to the governance and management of fisheries resources and associated economic opportunities.

The Seven First Nations include Gitga'at First Nation, Gitxaala Nation, Heiltsuk First Nation, Kitasoo First Nation, Metlakatla First Nation, Nuxalk Nation, and Wuikinuxv Nation.

Carolyn Bennet, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Norther Affairs hailed the nation-to-nation approach to providing for long term sustainability of fishery resources in the region.

"This agreement is an important step towards building a new and better path for our work with Indigenous peoples in furthering economic opportunities. We're working together, nation-to-nation, to plan for the long-term sustainability and use of fisheries resources while preserving ecological integrity, furthering economies and enhancing the well-being of coastal people."

The two parties to the agreement will expand on the current relationship to develop and implement planning, management, monitoring and maintenance of healthy fisheries resources within the North and Central Coast. It will make for a process that will allow for a further predictability and stability in the management of fisheries resources and enhancing the well-being of Coastal First Nations communities.

Chief Marilyn Slett, the President of the Coast First Nations outlined how far the agreement will go to encompass a range of fisheries options

"The importance of the agreement will be the renewal of community-based and sustainable commercial fisheries on BC's north and central coast. As well as creating opportunities in traditional fisheries, the emergence of sustainable aquaculture will lead to a healthy coastal economy. Species such as scallops, geoduck, oyster, clams and mussels all represent viable aquaculture opportunities for the Central and North Coast communities."

For his part Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic Leblanc hailed the collaboration and path for the future that the agreement offers for the two participants in the agreement.

"Collaboration with Indigenous communities in Canada, such as the ones represented in this agreement, is critical to protecting Canada's coasts and our ability to have economically viable fisheries while protecting our oceans for future generations."

A glimpse as to some of the elements of the Coastal First Nations initiatives can be found here.

Details as to how the agreement will be implemented moving forward have yet to be outlined by the participants in today's agreement.

So far there has been no reaction, or observations from other stakeholders in the North Coast fishing industry outside of the Seven Coastal First Nations group.

The full information release from today's announcement is available here.

Fore more background on items of interest from the Metlakatla First Nation see our archive page here.

Notes related to the North Coast Fishery can be found here.

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