The Tsilhqot’in National Government is calling on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to eliminate all bycatch from the commercial Pacific salmon fisheries.
The TNG announced Tuesday the closure of all fishing of the endangered Chilcotin River Steelhead Trout and said in a news release that the Nation is forgoing their collective Aboriginal right to fish Steelhead for food, social, and ceremonial purposes.
“Our Steelhead Trout are facing a serious crisis right now that cannot be ignored,” said Tribal Chairman Chief Joe Alphonse.
“All sectors within government and business need to take this decline in population numbers very seriously. The Tŝilhqot’in territory is at the end of the line for the Steelhead migration, meaning that we have to make the most sacrifices in protecting this population.”
The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada conducted an emergency assessment of the Chilcotin River Steelhead Trout on January 10 and confirmed just 58 Chilcotin River Steelhead Trout-an 81% decline over 18 years.
Two major causes of decline were identified including ocean conditions and bycatch from commercial fisheries.
The Thompson River Steelhead are also facing severe declines.