The Gitxsan Government is closing the 2019 Skeena River recreational fisheries season on their territory.

The ban is due to what the Gitxsan have said are low salmon levels.

In a press release, they said “All persons holding recreational fishing permits and/or fish guiding licenses are no longer allowed to trespass.”

Hereditary Chief of the Gitxsan Nation Robert Campbell said it’s necessary to ensure there are fish for future generations.

“This is the lowest we have seen the Skeena River, and we don’t know how much fish are going up if any,” said Campbell.

Hereditary Chief Catherine Blackstock said they will be consulting with a conservation authority to determine if the numbers are high enough for the Gitxsan to still fish for food.

The Gitxsan Nation covers 33,000 sq km along Northwest.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has not enforced the ban; however, Campbell said they will have their own people patrolling the river.

The Gitxsan Nation is developing an advisory council to try and preserve the salmon population, with representatives from different First Nations, Commercial Fisherman, Recreational Fishermen, municipalities, and Band Councils.

The DFO did not respond in time for publication.