On August 7th, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) opened parts of the Skeena River for recreational fishing purposes.
The full report can be found here.
Although recreational fishing may be good news for some, it’s still causing areas of concern for others.
The Gitxsan Government has announced they will close the Skeena River Watershed to all fish permits authorized by the Province of BC and Canada.
This will apply to all recreational fisheries for Chinook, Pinks, and Coho.
In the release issued by the Gitxsan Government, it says “The Chiefs view all fisheries data gathered from the Tyee Test Fishery as unreliable during the emerging salmon crisis that threatens all Skeena watershed salmon stocks.”
The Skeena River is the second largest freshwater system in the Pacific Region of the British Columbian North coast. The salmon stocks provide a way of life for nearly 14,000 Gitxsan people and representatives simply want to stop overfishing from occurring.
“Fish are part of our lives since time immemorial,” says Simogyat Niisgiminu, Robert Campbell, “Years ago there were thousands of salmon, now being depleted due to mismanagement. We stand strong working collaboratively with the DFO and BC Gov’t, as we continue to manage and protect the fisheries according to our laws, ayookw.”
“These fish have sustained our families and it is our view that the commercial and economic aspects imposed on the fisheries by the Governments are no longer viable,” says Simogyat O’yee, Cliff Sampare, “We will continue to protect the individual rights of each Gitxsan person. We view these Gov’t actions as violations of our basic human rights.”
In late July, Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen gave his take on the salmon issue. That story can be found here.