The Tsilhqot’in National Government is alarmed to learn about an Alaskan Commercial Fishery that is threatening salmon bound for B.C. And having severe impacts on their fishing rights and other First Nations in the province.
A news release from the TNG says a new report commissioned by Watershed Watch Salmon Society and SkeenaWild Conservation Trust found that the Fishery is responsible for harvesting hundreds of thousands of which could partially explain the historically low returns that the province and territory have experienced over the past few years and has led to fishing closures.
“Our population, our community, we’re very heavily dependent on Sockeye, the Sockeye Salmon, as the main sustenance for food,” Tribal Chair Chief Joe Alphonse said, “to have the Alaskan’s take a large chunk of that is really upsetting. It’s also upsetting because we’ve been lobbying to be active participants on the Pacific Salmon Commission and over and over again we keep getting denied the opportunity to speak on behalf of our Sockeye, the Chilco Lake Run.”
Alphonse added “We’ve been involved in the management of the Chilco Lake run for almost 30 years and it is the largest, most healthy run on the Fraser River, and they’ve put a lot of time, effort, and resources into the protection and growth of that run. And one sector comes along and threatens to wipe that out and we have to stand up, we have to object and we have to let our positions be known”.
The TNG also said in their release the Tsilhqot’in Nation is calling for an independent review of the Pacific Salmon Treaty, with Tsilhqot’in representative’s participation, and leading to new structures and renegotiation with the U.S.