(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver – June 28, 2018) The First Nation Leadership Council (FNLC) applauds the Broughton Area Letter of Understanding (LoU), signed yesterday between the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis, Namgis and Mamalilikulla First Nations and BC.
Yesterday’s LoU represents a strong commitment to engage in a consent-based government-to-government process to reach agreement related to the ongoing and grave concerns many First Nations have expressed regarding the future of the fin-fish open net-pen aquaculture industry in the Broughton area. Further, this LoU, by following a truly collaborative development process, exemplifies how equitable partnerships and consent-based negotiations, allow for proactive and innovative decisions that benefit both parties.
The FNLC is greatly encouraged by the LoU’s acknowledgment of the environmental impacts of fish farms, including impacts to in/out migrating wild salmon to watersheds beyond the Broughton area, as well as the impacts to First Nations’ title and rights, alongside the LoU’s recognition of the important role Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge will play in the work identified by the agreement.
“This agreement represents an important and significant step towards the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration) and the realization of the Indigenous right to free, prior and informed consent,” stated Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. Chief Chamberlin continued, “The realization of Indigenous free, prior and informed consent in decisions which pertain to First Nations’ title and rights, will ensure a prosperous and sustainable future for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities alike.”
Regional Chief Terry Teegee, of the BC Assembly of First Nations, exclaimed, “This is an important step in reconciliation and for the protection and restitution of our fish habitat and economy. For too long First Nations waters and lands have been subsidizing industry, we applaud the leadership taken by Premier Horgan.”
As per resolutions passed by each of the FNLC member organizations, the fin-fish open net-pen industry must be relocated to land-based closed containment facilities in order to safeguard our surviving wild salmon stocks and to protect our environment from the cumulative impacts of this industry.
“Considerable work lies ahead if we are to successfully re-establish healthy and abundant wild salmon stocks across BC. First Nations are well situated to inform and facilitate this work but must be engaged as full partners in this process with their right to free, prior and informed consent being recognized and respected”, said Robert Phillips of the First Nations Summit Political Executive. “As per the recommendations of the Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River, decisive action must be taken beyond the Broughton Archipelago to watersheds throughout BC to protect wild salmon for the benefit of future generations.”
The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political executives of the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
For further comment please contact:
Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President, Union of BC Indian Chiefs: 250-974-8282
Robert Phillips, First Nations Summit Political Executive: 778-875-4463
Regional Chief Terry Teegee, BC Assembly of First Nations: 250-299-2030