The Tsilhqot’in Chiefs continue to raise alarm with Pacific Salmon Treaty Commissioners.
Chief of Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government, Jimmy Lulua addressed the Canadian and U-S Commissioners at the bi-lateral Commissioners meeting last week about the risk the Alaskan District 104 Fishery poses to imperiled Fraser River salmon stocks.
“In their Treaty, they’re following their Treaty, I had a chat with them just talking about what is right and what is wrong and they take about 20% give or take of our run every year, and our salmon stocks have been dwindling over the last 4 or 5 years but we don’t even fish our fish. We’ve been telling our people not to fish at all. We didn’t really notice that until at least last year how much Alaskan fishery takes.”
Lulua said Commissioners would follow up with a letter response to the Nation’s concerns which he assumes in two weeks they’ll see a letter on what they decide.
Chief of Tl’etinqox Government and TNG Tribal Chief Joe Alphonse also spoke at the Intertribal meeting of Canadian First Nations and US Tribal representatives, including Indigenous Commissioners.
Alphonse said their ultimate goal is to try to maintain a healthy Chilko Lake Sockeye run.
“We’ve gone 4 years without having a run. We find that the Alaskan Fishery tapped into a lot of the Chilko Lake run that we’re concerned about. If the Pacific Salmon Commission is a body that oversees that and has an influence on that then we wanted to talk with them, it’s another layer of Government that we have to meet with and try to influence.”
Alphonse said the TNG has given them an invite to come to the Chilcotin, to Chilko and check out their spawning grounds in the Fall.
He added that if nothing changes they do have legal options but they don’t want to get to that as they prefer to negotiate and to come to an agreement at the table.
In a release, the Tsilhqot’in Chiefs called on Canada to review the Pacific Salmon Treaty immediately and called on all parties to do their part to rectify this unacceptable risk prior to the 2022 fishing season.