Earlier this week, I told you about how some First Nations groups were leading by example in Chinook conservation. Now, the Sto:lo, and several other Fraser River First Nations, have gone one step further and called for the resignation of the DFO Minster, Gail Shea, citing years of fisheries mismanagement.
According to an article in The Chilliwack Times, the demand that Shea resign is directly tied to the collapse of the Chinook runs and the fact that sport fishing is still allowed in areas where First Nations are no longer allowed to fish – which First Nations note violates the law as laid out in the Sparrow Decision. This 1990 law states that after conservation, First Nations fisheries should be considered before any other group – and that includes sport fisheries as well as commercial fisheries.
Chief Fred Sampson of the Nicola Tribal Association thanked First Nations which have voluntarily refrained from fishing the endangered stocks in a joint statement this week, and argued that:
“The call for the minister’s resignation is warranted given that these extremely low runs are the product of years of mismanagement of the Chinook fishery by DFO,”… “The department’s refusal to close the fisheries that could impact early-timed Fraser Chinook is unconscionable.”[… read full article]
The Minister’s office argues that it is considering conservation first when making its policies.