Skeena Nations prohibit recreational and sport fisheries due to salmon crisis

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Prince Rupert – Eight First Nations along the Skeena River watershed are standing together to close the freshwater and marine recreational fisheries.

The Nations oppose recent actions by Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the BC Government, in response to an emerging salmon crisis that threatens Skeena watershed salmon stocks.

The Skeena River is one of the largest freshwater systems in the Pacific Region of the north coast of British Columbia. The Skeena Watershed First Nations are signatories to the Skeena Nations Fish Forum Protocol, and have territories, traditional fishing sites and rights along the Skeena River.

The Skeena Nations, based on recommendations of the Skeena First Nations Technical Committee,  requested that DFO close all freshwater and marine recreational fisheries impacting Skeena Chinook, with no catch and release option. However, the federal agency DFO did not follow the recommendation, and the resulting management regime will exacerbate the crisis on the Skeena and allow for overfishing.

“We oppose the actions of DFO allowing the recreational fishery to harvest Chinook in this salmon crisis, and BC issuing guide outfitter permits and individual licenses to allow the recreational steelhead catch and release fishery to remain open,” said Bruce Watkinson, Co-Chair of the Skeena Nations Fish Secretariat. “If Canada and BC are serious about their commitments to Indigenous Peoples, then the Skeena watershed and marine waters should be closed to all recreational salmon fishing for the 2018 season.”

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