Aquaculture North America

BC, First Nations formalize talks over future of salmon farming

June 28, 2018
By Liza Mayer

A joint decision-making process will decide the fate of salmon farming British Columbia’s Broughton Archipelago effective immediately.

Aerial shot of a BC salmon farm

In a letter of understanding signed on Wednesday, the BC provincial government and three First Nations — ‘Namgis, Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwa’mis and Mamalilikulla — agreed to cooperate in making decisions over fish farming in the area.

First Nations in Broughton oppose fish farms, saying they operate on traditional territories without consent and have a negative impact on wild salmon and other marine species. There are 23 salmon tenures in the area, of which 20 are operating under month-to-month permits until agreements with the First Nations are in place.

The parties have agreed to engage in a respectful government-to-government process, to reach agreement related to historical concerns related to these outstanding tenures.

“We are pleased to continue to work with British Columbia in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP),” said Bob Chamberlin, Elected Chief Councillor of the Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation. “We have never consented to the presence of these fish farms in our territories. We look forward to a process that respects the need for our consent going forward.”

The First Nations and BC have 90 days to develop consensus recommendations.

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