Spring Chinook Salmon. Photo courtesy Michael Humling, US Fish & Wildlife Service

Skeena First Nations call on DFO to close recreational fishing for chinook salmon

Skeena First Nations say all chinook beyond conservation should be available to their communities

Skeena First Nations are calling on the DFO to close recreational fishing for chinook salmon along the Skeena watershed for the 2019 season.

The Skeena First Nations, including the Gitxsan, the Wet’suwet’en, and Gitanyow, said that due to the shortage of sockeye they intend on harvesting as much chinook as possible and are seriously considering the possibility of not engaging in sockeye salmon directed food fisheries for 2019.

“We need DFO to understand the plain facts and act in accordance with Canadian law which gives First Nations a priority right to salmon after conservation needs are met. The numbers show that there is no surplus of skeena chinook for any non-First Nations harvest. The recreational fishery for chinook in the Skeena River and bound for the Skeena River has to be closed now to preserve that valuable food for our people,” Charlie Muldon, Coordinator of the Gitksan Watershed Authorities, said.

READ MORE: Recreational fishing for sockeye salmon in the Skeena River watershed temporarily closed

Skeena First Nations said they are of the view that all chinook beyond what is required for conservation should be available to their communities for food.

First Nations along the Skeena Watershed say that although the number of sockeye salmon expected to return to the Skeena River may surpass 400,000, this number is too low. The First Nations groups is setting a more precautionary number of 625,000.

“We encourage all First Nations to conserve sockeye this year. Conservation of the salmon resource, which has sustained our culture, communities, and families for millennia is paramount. DFO needs to enforce closures. The sockeye shortage this year will result in First Nations families running short of their preferred food this winter, and any time we can’t fish or get enough fish there is a significant cultural impact,” Wet’suwet’en Chief Namoks, John Ridsdale, said.

As of July 22, the number of chinook salmon returning to the Skeena River is forecasted to be between 32,000 and 35,000. The amount of chinook needed to spawn sustainably is 19,000.

READ MORE: B.C. First Nations get clarity on fishing rights from top court


Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
Jenna Cocullo 
Send Jenna email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New emergency and public alerts system released by the RDBN

This new mass communication system is called Voyent Alert.

“The Great Regional Air Hug” being organized by the Vanderhoof International Airshow Society

A multi-aircraft flyover over the region is being planned for August 15.

Drive-by parade being held for seniors in Vanderhoof

The route covers long-term care homes in the district as well as the hospital.

P.G.’s Barb Ward-Burkitt named new chair of Minister’s Advisory Council on Indigenous Women

A survivor of domestic abuse herself, Ward-Burkitt has served as vice-chair since 2018

Houston mill to re-open June 8

Ends lengthy shutdown which began in March

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read