COAST SALISH TERRITORY, VANCOUVER, April 16, 2015 /CNW/ - The Musqueam First Nation issued a public notice last week to its fishers that the Musqueam Fisheries Department closed all aquatic harvesting in the English Bay, and surrounding areas until further notice. This includes the removal of prawn and crab traps. Due to the then unknown nature of materials spilled in English Bay or its extent, Musqueam asked its members to take all precautions, including reporting any related oil that may be in the waters or onshore. Musqueam Fisheries Department has been notifying its fishers to get their gear out of the water since the MV Marathassa spilled about 2,700 litres of bunker fuel on Wednesday last week.
Chief Wayne Sparrow said, "We are very concerned about how long it took to notify officials and Musqueam about the spill in English Bay." He added, "Musqueam must be part of the solution to improve emergency response to spills, accidents and emergencies, especially in our waterways. Canada has an opportunity to improve this relationship and role with Musqueam." Musqueam has a community located on the North Arm of the Lower Fraser River, just across from the Vancouver International Airport.
Musqueam is working with the Major Projects Management Office West to develop a long term Aquatic Habitat Restoration Plan, as well as creating a First Nations focused Stewardship Centre. This recent incident in English Bay highlights the need to improve relationships between Musqueam, Coast Guard, Port Metro Vancouver and the City of Vancouver.
"We must put the environment and our waters at the forefront, Musqueam has the knowledge and expertise in our waters", stated Chief Wayne Sparrow.
The Musqueam, a proud and unified people, will as a self-governing nation, work together to ensure enhanced quality of life for all generations of our people to develop a sustainable, self-reliant, vibrant community that is built upon the historical and traditional values of our community. Archaeological studies have recorded evidence of Musqueam's existence, particularly the Marpole midden - located at the mouth of the North Arm of the Fraser River, in excess of 4,000 years and at the Musqueam reserve in excess of 3,500 years.
SOURCE Musqueam Indian Band
For further information: Councillor Wendy Grant John. Phone: (778) 987-2953