First Nation Chiefs Declare Skeena Watershed ‘Fish Farm Free Zone’ at Public Aquaculture Hearing
“If we have to take the Province to court, so be it.”
For Immediate Release
Prince Rupert, BC, June 19, 2006 – At today’s public hearings of the Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture, B.C. Northern First Nations, including the Wet’suwet’en, Gitxsan, Gitanyow, and Allied Tsimshian Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams, formally announced an official declaration calling for a fish farm-free Skeena Watershed, which has the second largest wild salmon run in Canada.
Holding banners with the words, “True North – Fish Farm Free” and dressed in their regalia, First Nations from all over northern B.C. stood and drummed in solidarity at the opening of the hearings.
If their declaration is not honoured, the First Nations say they will escalate their no fish farm campaign by using all of the legal and political options available. The First Nations, have also requested a face-to-face meeting with Premier Campbell to resolve the situation.
“We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – the Skeena Watershed will not become the next Broughton and that means a ban on all fish farms in this region,” said Stan Dennis, who speaks for the Allied Tsimshian Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams. “If we have to take the Province to court, so be it.”
Pan Fish, the world’s largest fish farm operator, is currently awaiting final government approval to open a cluster of salmon net cages at the mouth of the Skeena River. However, polls show that seven out of ten residents oppose fish farms on B.C.’s North Coast.
“We rely on salmon for survival.” said Glen Williams, chief negotiator for Gitanyow. “The Skeena and Nass Rivers are intact, the wild salmon runs are healthy and we plan to keep them this way.”
For more information and for photos, please contact:
Stan Dennis, who speaks for the Allied Tsimshian Tribes of Lax Kw’Alaams, 250-847-0737
Glen Williams, chief negotiator for Gitanyow, 250-615-9597
Backup contact number: (250) 877-9745