First Nations Urge Campbell to Heed Aquaculture Recommendations

May 16, 2007 (Victoria, BC) – Today in Victoria, northwest BC First Nations are urging Gordon Campbell to heed the Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture’s expected recommendation against fish farms in BC’s northern waters. The Committee will present its final report today in the BC Legislature.

Read the final report:

Volume 1 (PDF format)

Volume 2 (PDF format)

“The Committee’s recommendation offers hope for wild salmon and for our people,” said Chief Elmer Derrick of the Gitxsan Nation. “We’re here to urge the BC government to show leadership by heeding the report and making the north coast a fish-farm-free zone as soon as possible.”

Eugene Bryant with the Allied Tsimshian Tribes of Lax Kw‘alaams says Minister of Agriculture and Lands Pat Bell’s comment that he will not be bound by the Committee’s recommendations betrays the hundreds of people who testified before the committee.

“Our people have said loudly and clearly that fish farms are not acceptable,” said Eugene Bryant. “Allowing fish farms to expand northward despite the risks will demonstrate that this government would rather prolong the conflict than work towards lasting solutions.”

A 2005 study by IBM Business Consulting estimated that wild salmon contribute $110 million to the annual economy of the Skeena watershed.

“We already have a rich wild salmon economy on the north coast,” said Bryant. “Jeopardizing this significant economy by introducing fish farms makes no business sense whatsoever.”

The delegation asserts that fish farms would exacerbate other threats facing northern salmon stocks, including climate change, habitat loss and stock mismanagement.

“Last year there were not even enough salmon for our food fishery,” said Chief Ron Austin of the Wet’suwet’en Nation. “With our stocks already in such peril, it would be grossly irresponsible to add fish farms to the mix.”

While there are currently no salmon farms on the north coast, the BC government has identified18 potential sites near the mouth of the Skeena River, BC’s second largest wild salmon river system. A 2007 Synovate poll showed over 70 percent of northwest BC residents oppose fish farms.

Chief Elmer Derrick, Chief Negotiator, Gitxsan) Nation
Eugene Bryant, Allied Tsimshian Tribes of Lax Kw‘alaams
Chief Ron Austin, Wet’suwet’en Nation
All contacts can be reached at (250) 877-9745

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