The Province is reporting today a 3-day fishery for First Nations in the lower river.
The First Nations fishery has been given another chance to catch its quota of Fraser River sockeye.
On Wednesday, natives from the mouth of the Fraser at Musqueam as far up the river as Hope were enjoying a three-day fishery, but had to promise to use only gear that won’t harm scarce migrating coho stocks.
“We’re using beach seines which gather up the salmon and make it easy for our fishermen to reach in and release the coho in the catch,” explained Sto: lo fisheries adviser Ernie Crey.
Crey said an anticipated 75,000 sockeye will be caught from Wednesday to Friday, bringing First Nations closer to their already-allocated 915,000 fish.
“Beach seines are regarded as a highly selective way of fishing,” said Crey, “Sockeye will be caught and kept, but both coho and steelhead . . . will be released back to the river.”
Conservative MP John Cummins a commercial fisherman, is of course, up in arms. There are some things I can agree with him on, such as some of the comments about the Cohen Commission and some of the choices of scientific advisers, and the focus on “science”. However, the comments in this article… could be a bit more productive if the media would just ignore them.
What’s the point? Yet the writer of this article gets a good dig in.
But that has Delta MP John Cummins fuming. “The commercial fleet hasn’t fished above Mission for 100 years and DFO [Department of Fisheries and Oceans] knows that. They’re just trying to find a way to let the natives catch fish that they will catch and sell illegally any way.”
The commercial fishing fleets have caught an estimated 11 million of the unexpected bounty of close to 35 million sockeye this year.
“But our guys haven’t fished well for years, I predict they won’t fish next year and may never get another fishery like this one again, and they’re just ordinary working people who depend on fishing for a living,” said Cummins. “There should be one law for all Canadians and instead, the Government of Canada seems determined to put the commercial fisherman out of business.”
Plus, come one, let’s compare the numbers. The commercial fleet is over 11 million, the First Nation fisheries are approaching 1 million. Historically, the First Nation fishery in B.C. is far less than 5% of the total catch — so let’s just try and keep those ginch from getting in a knot.
“one law”… well that’s not necessarily how the Constitution works for one — there is this thing called Sec. 35 rights.
Two, it’s a conservation issue (with great irony, the same word that sits at the route of Conservative). If the commercial fleet could utilize more selective gear that didn’t impact coho and steelhead then there would probably be more opportunities.
If we want to carry on about “One Law” then maybe Cummins should take that up with the commercial dragging and trawl fleet that operates off the coast catching anything and everything as well as destroying the sea floor — all under the support of DFO. What about conservation concerns out there?