The Tsilhqot’in National Government is concerned about the decision by the Provincial Government to issue a short-term discharge permit to Mount Polley Mine.
Tribal chair Chief Joe Alphonse says they have received a lot of calls to that effect from members of their community.
He says while Mount Polley isn`t in their territory, the breach definitely had an impact on their fishing.
“The other year the majority of our fishers dropped by about 80% and I would say probably another 20% didn’t bother coming back to fish this year. They lost a lot of faith in the process and worry that contamination continues to be leaked into the river system.”
Alphonse says they will continue to monitor how many people are fishing and how much they are catching.
He says they haven`t determined yet if they will attempt to hold the company accountable for the breach.
The first indication of the long-term impacts, according to Alphonse will come this spring when they do a smolt project at Chilko Lake.
Mt Polley’s short-term water permit to discharge treated mine contact into Quesnel Lake in a “dilution zone” in order to meet water quality guidelines was approved by the Province on Nov. 30.
Quesnel Lake drains into the Fraser River.