First Nations bands to sue Federal and Provincial Governments over Salmon

According to an article in the Globe and Mail on Wednesday, Chief Bob Chamberlin, along with a collection of chiefs from Vancouver Island First Nations bands, has vowed to protect the wild salmon stocks in the Broughton Archipelago – even if that means suing the government.

The bands’ class action suit centres on governmental mismanagement causing decline in the wild salmon stocks, and failing to prevent the transmission of parasites (such as sea lice) from the farms to the wild fish.

One suggestion the bands make is moving the salmon pens to a contained system off migration routes to protect wild salmon, especially young salmon, from disease.

Chamberlin also cited the lack of economic opportunities in the region, which leads to a heavy dependence on natural resources, such as the salmon. The government’s failure to protect these resources, he says, violates the rights of local First Nations bands.

The article notes Chamberlin’s frustration with both the government and the industry:

“We are asking that this industry evolve. … We’ve talked to the government for years about this and have got nowhere. We want action and as much as we’d rather avoid the courts, we feel this is the only thing we can do…” [read full article]

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