Members of the Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance and Katzie Councillor Rick Bailey met with Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Lisa Bear and MLA Bob D’Eith on Dec.1/17, to discuss the importance of protecting wild salmon to BC’s ecotourism industry and First Nation’s culture. Rick Bailey stated that for many thousands of years the Katzie People’s lives, culture and livelihood revolved around the salmon, and even today, although there is much diversity of employment among the Katzie people, fishing is still important to their way of life. Yet numbers of fish are so depleted that fishing is very much reduced. Both the Minister and MLA expressed concerns over the plight of wild salmon and pledged to uphold the recommendations of the Cohen commission.
We discussed how Net pen fish farms and farmed salmon processing are impacting wild salmon citing the example of the recent contamination from untreated blood released from a farmed salmon processing plant. The Minister mentioned that there was a quick response to that spill from the government, and that plant was in non-compliance in 2013 and had not been inspected since. They also said that salmon are strongly brought up almost every time they meet in Victoria, especially by Ministers George Heyman and Lana Popham.
We informed the Minister that Indigenous rights are not being respected: earlier in the year DFO laid charges against Chief Robert Gladstone for one salmon which was caught for the sacred First Salmon ceremony for that community. Rick added that the one salmon caught for the First Salmon Ceremony for the Kwantlen People was confiscated by the DFO officers and thrown back into the river dead. It was pointed out that The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is not being upheld.
WSDA Vice President Tracy Lyster read aloud the following statement by Eddie and presented copies to the Minister and MLA.
WSDA Letter to Lisa Beare