VANCOUVER, July 5, 2019 /CNW/ - There is no relationship more important to the Government of Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. Our government is committed to advancing a renewed relationship with Indigenous communities, based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership. As part of this commitment, we are working to modernize and strengthen nation-to-nation, government-to-government structures, and to support a more collaborative approach to fisheries management by the Government of Canada and Indigenous Peoples.
British Columbia (BC) First Nations along the migratory route of Fraser salmon have a long standing and profound relationship with the Fraser salmon. The conservation and restoration of Fraser salmon today, and for generations to come, is the highest priority when we are making governance and management decisions about this species.
Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, and Darren Haskell, President of the Fraser Salmon Management Council (FSMC), announced the signing of the Fraser Salmon Collaborative Management Agreement between Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the FSMC.
This is a landmark agreement that signals a significant change and opportunity for meaningful and innovative reconciliation work between DFO and Indigenous communities. This creates a joint DFO-FSMC board that will review, and make collaborative decisions on operational fisheries issues, to be outlined in their annual work plan.
The Fraser Salmon Management Council was established by First Nations along the migratory route of Fraser salmon in March 2014, with the adoption of their constitution and bylaws. FSMC currently includes 76 member First Nations representing a majority of British Columbia (BC) First Nations with access to Fraser salmon fisheries. The Fraser Salmon Management Council membership includes First Nations along the migratory route of Fraser salmon, including the Upper, Middle and Lower Fraser and Marine Approach (Vancouver Island) areas.
"There is no relationship more important to our government than the one with Indigenous Peoples. At Fisheries and Oceans Canada we are coming through on this commitment. This new Fraser Salmon Collaborative Management Agreement marks an important milestone in our commitment to strengthen nation-to-nation structures to support Indigenous capacity building, and the vision of self-determination. Not only does this renewed collaboration help secure the sustainability of our fisheries for the long-term, it ensures that moving forward, decisions made are based on shared principles for the protection and conservation of Fraser salmon stocks."
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
"Today marks a historic nation-to-nation moment between Indigenous peoples and Canada. We have long fought for our rightful place at the table in the management of the fisheries resources that are critical to our communities well being. We look forward to working collaboratively on behalf of Fraser salmon."
Darren Haskell, President
- FSMC includes 76 member First Nations representing just over 50 per cent of British Columbia (BC) First Nations with access to Fraser salmon fisheries.
- The five species of Pacific salmon are Chinook, Chum, Coho, Pink, and Sockeye. Management issues affecting steelhead salmon can also be addressed through this agreement.
- Salmon are a part of intricate food webs in both their freshwater and marine environments, affecting everything from tiny zooplankton, to large mammals like whales and bears, to birds of prey.
- Chinook salmon are important for a myriad of reasons including as prey of choice for Southern Resident killer whales. Culturally, Chinook are an important species for many British Columbia (BC) First Nations.
- The Fraser Salmon Collaborative Management Agreement reflects years of hard work and negotiations based on a framework agreement signed in August 2016.
- The Collaborative Management Agreement provides for DFO and Indigenous communities to collaboratively manage Fraser salmon fisheries, by establishing a collaborative governance structure, increasing the direct participation of Indigenous peoples in fisheries management, and establishing principles to guide discussions on shared DFO and Indigenous priorities.
- Part of implementing this new agreement will be consultations with First Nations who are not FSMC members to inform them about the process.
- FSMC is always open to new members and the agreement is set up to be inclusive.
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SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region
For further information: Marie-Pascale Des Rosiers, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, 613-314-4591, firstname.lastname@example.org; Media Relations, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 613-990-7537, Media.email@example.com; Neil Todd, Operations Management, Fraser Salmon Management Council, 250-378-4235 / 250-378-7581, firstname.lastname@example.org