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July 13, 2010 4:17AM Post #1
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This afternoon I heard a rumor that DFO posted signage at the local marina to inform the local FN's they had reached their number and would therefor have to stop fishing immediately. Couldn't believe such a development could ever occur, so I ran down to have a boo myself...

aYup, there it was, Black and White, posted right on the launch itself. The Notice states that the local FN's have surpassed 63,000 sockeye in their harvests, and that the Department feels that they have been ''generous'' in ''allowing'' that number for their ''FSC'' purposes. It goes on to state that their is NO working Agreement for Economic Opportunity Fisheries for this sector, and as such ''ANY further fishing efforts and/or SALES (specifically) are NOT AUTHORIZED.''

While I was reading this, a couple of FN fellows backed their shiny new 4x4 down the ramp, readied their gillnet, and launched. They paused long enough to see what I was reading, laughed, said ''Yah... RIGHT'', and carried on with Business As Usual. They also paused for a few moments to chat with 2 others boats from their group that were getting their nets in order, and the bunch appeared to be rather jovial about the posting that went up there this very day.

Methinks The Dino has bitten off a rather HUGE chunk with this move. Gotta give whomever grew a set long enough to draft that Notice and have it posted credit for doing so. But... methinks backing up the contents of that Notice is a VERY different matter! With road-side sales booming, sockeye still pouring through in some numbers, I will be absolutely amazed if their is ANY further action in support of the Department's stance. Business As Usual in other words. I rather hope I am in error in this assumption, but certainly am not holding my breath...

Front page of the local rag today has one of the Elder FN's was quoted saying ''It is all about GREED'' in regards to sockeye harvesting. The context was that he was suggesting cutting the FN's out of the loop at this point was being done to benefit the bag fleets (at it again today and tomorrow) and that the ratio of fish the FN's could take in comparison with all other sectors was somehow ''unfair''. Hmmm...

Guaranteed to be more developments on this one. Letcha know as it goes...

July 13, 2010 5:03AM Post #2
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thanks for posting this development ironnoggin. if you hear of anything else going on keep us in the loopcheers
July 13, 2010 11:11PM Post #3
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like I posted on another site,

Coming soon to Port Alberni...

Dumping of ''Food Fish'' caught Sockeye on the logging roads and ditchs,

IT WILL HAPPEN when they can't sell it all and it all starts to ROT!

July 14, 2010 12:28AM Post #4
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The FN's haven't had a working Agreement regarding ''Economic Fisheries'' whatsoever on this run (besides the previous Court Ruling that states they can sell them) yet have been actively doing so for 2 months! Couple that with their aggressive and extremely early start when all other sectors were holding back in an attempt to get some of the early timed fish up into the lakes, and the extreme low-balling of their catch numbers to date, and it's not tough to understand why DFO wants them at least slowed down. They already receive the highest allocation number, guess that simply ain't enough... cry

A related article in the Vancouver Sun today: Story Here

One of the quotes from that: ''''The illegal salmon sales have been prevalent -- we're extremely concerned about them,'' said Larry Paike, a DFO fisheries officer.''

Concerned? Quite Possibly so. But with their hands tied, there isn't a damn thing they, nor anyone else can do about it. Kinda like what the Notice reflects, concern expressed... OK, But what then to follow? dead

Edited: July 13, 2010 5:29PM
July 14, 2010 7:46PM Post #5
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As much as I have issues with a lot of what DFO does / doesn't do, in this particular matter I don't believe they (the Front Line Troops anyway) can be held responsible for the developments of late. Their hands are VERY much tied in what they can or cannot do by Court Rulings, Legislation and Policy that have declared Hand's Off when it comes to First Nations except under the most extreme of situations. As many FN's (most in BC in fact) have as yet ''undefined'' Rights regarding resource access, until such time as Final Agreements (Treaties) have been realized with each, the Justice System simply cannot address anything that even comes close to defining what those Rights might be. Simply stated, even the Supreme Court of Canada cannot enter into defining FN Rights and/or Privileges. These, Constitutionally, MUST be set out in a Negotiated Settlement BEFORE consideration can be applied to those who might step foot outside of them.

I initiated this thread to note the action regarding the posting of the Public Notice regarding local FN fishing activities. For that, I do believe DFO has taken a mighty step forward. It was a good First Step and took considerable intestinal fortitude to do so. What can legally follow is anyone's guess, however I perceive something must be in the works, or that Notice wouldn't even have been considered. Defining what that something may be is now in the hands of both DFO and the FN's. In my mind's eye, it is very much a Catch-22 scenario for the Department - they have now drawn a line in the sand, what they now do when that line is crossed will, for better or worse, be instrumental in defining future relations with all BC First Nations, as well as Public Perception of DFO's ability to deal with such occurrences.

Here's a related broadcast that aired yesterday: News Story

Kinda telling the story as it were.

So, Interesting Times in the Alberni Valley for certain. It will be VERY intriguing to follow the developments as they unfold. I will attempt to stay on top of those (tricky as I am away a LOT this time of year) and post what I learn as I am able.

July 15, 2010 7:16PM Post #6
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The case in point here continues to be a working example of the summary I posed above. The Tseshaht have publicly denied DFO's demand to stop fishing, noting that they ''refuse to recognize DFO's Management Plan for Alberni sockeye'' and ''will continue to operate based on the Fishing Management Plan of their own design''. The Hupacasath have publicly stated that ''they will discuss the matter with their Elders and Chief in an upcoming meeting''. Both continue to fish.
DFO's answer has been to engage in a PR Program designed to inform the general public that they would prefer if the FN's stop fishing, and warning of the dangers associated with purchasing ''illegal'' road-side fish sales.
At this juncture, there appears to be no forthcoming resolution to the issue at hand. Fishing continues, and frustrated DFO personnel sit on the sidelines (as they have been directed to).

It is quite the contentious issue here, heating up more each passing day. Personally I see no easy way to solve the divisions between the Management Authority and the First Nations Sector. The only real way to address this matter in anything resembling a permanent fashion is to get on with finalizing Treaties with both the local First Nation Organizations. Won't happen obviously in time for this year's run. I sincerely hope it can be addressed before too many more years' runs pass by... cry

July 16, 2010 2:58PM Post #7
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Ive never seen so many sockeye stands set up on the side of the road this year!! Wonder how this will all blow over in the coming days???
July 21, 2010 9:03PM Post #8
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Government cracking down on roadside salmon sales near Port Alberni
Robert Matas
Vancouver — From Friday's Globe and Mail Published on Thursday, Jul. 15, 2010 9:17PM EDT Last updated on Thursday, Jul. 15, 2010 9:22PM EDT

Tseshaht First Nation Chief Les Sam has seen this before. The federal Fisheries Department has stepped up efforts to close down part of the aboriginal fishery. This year, federal enforcement officers are going after roadside sales of sockeye salmon in and around Port Alberni on Vancouver Island.

“DFO [the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans] always has charges against our people for various things,” Mr. Sam said.

“Throughout our history we have been harassed by DFO and we have been charged. In the eighties, we had 258 charges against us. Then they found it better to negotiate something with us, rather than fight us,” he said Thursday.

“But now we are back fighting again, it seems.”

In a crackdown on illegal roadside sales, the Fisheries Department brought extra staff to Vancouver Island this summer to gather evidence that would support charges in court.

The federal government has not authorized any openings for native commercial fisheries on the Somass River outside Port Alberni, said John Lewis, the department’s chief of conservation and protection for the south coast.

The salmon travel from Barkley Sound through the Alberni Inlet to reach spawning beds on the Somass River.

Authorities so far have found 32 signs on the Tseshaht reserve advertising sale of sockeye, Mr. Lewis said.

Enforcement officers have distributed “information notices” to Tseshaht fisherman, advising them that selling fish caught without a commercial fishing licence is illegal. They are collecting information about those who fish without a commercial licence. An educational campaign has also been launched to discourage the public from buying salmon from unauthorized vendors.

The fisheries office has been inundated with calls from the public expressing concerns over what they believe are illegal sales, Mr. Lewis said.

“We are very understanding and sensitive to their rights under the Constitution and under arrangements and policies we have within the department,” Mr. Lewis said. However, the department has a responsibility to manage the resource properly, he added.

Aggressive enforcement efforts had no visible impact on the native fishermen who continued to catch and sell salmon this week. Mr. Sam said they were fishing according to the first nation’s management plan for salmon that limits fishing to two days a week.

Unlike the past few years, no one this year is raising the possibility that the salmon runs are facing extinction. The sockeye are returning in far greater numbers than federal officials anticipated. The preseason forecast for salmon in Barkley Sound, which head to spawning grounds into three rivers in mid-Vancouver Island, was 600,000 but the current estimate is for 900,000.

About 419,000 sockeye could be caught without affecting the sustainability of the runs, federal officials say. So far, commercial seine and gill fishermen have taken 178,638 sockeye and sport fishermen have caught 42,700.

The Tseshaht and another native community in the area have caught 73,500 for food, social and ceremonial purposes and have not exceeded their allocation. But enforcement officers believe that a portion of those fish are ending up in roadside sales. Federal officials suspect as many 10,000 sockeye may have been sold illegally.

Federal officials and Tseshaht representatives tried to resolve their differences after B.C. Supreme Court last year ruled that natives have a right to sell fish but the number of fish has to be negotiated with the government.

“We have had a very difficult relationship with first nations in Port Alberni for many, many years,” Mr. Lewis said. The Tseshaht and the federal government worked hard to reach an accord but were unable to come to a negotiated agreement, he said. However, fisheries officials are not looking for a direct confrontation with the Tseshaht, he added.

But Mr. Sam said the Tseshaht were willing to reach an agreement, but the federal government wanted to give too large a portion to the commercial fishery.

“We were looking to negotiate some fair, equitable share of the resource that used to be controlled 100 per cent by the Tseshaht,” Mr. Sam said.


Didn't see any nets and only 2 signs along the road coming back into town last night. Must have missed some development or another...

July 22, 2010 2:50AM Post #9
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way to go boys!
July 22, 2010 3:03PM Post #10
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why is it that not one sign say's FOR SALE! they all say fresh fish,fish on ice etc..
Edited: July 22, 2010 8:04AM
July 22, 2010 10:33PM Post #11
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a guy I work with went over to port and bought 20 Sockeye on Sunday...$10 a fish...he asked the lady ''is this legal?''
her answer was if you get stopped they are a gift to you from me,
and you are going to smoke them and give them back....

well today at work he tells me he has a friend that wanted some so he gives him the ph# of the lady selling the fish, he phones her and the price is now $8 a fish!! AND she meets him in Whiskey Creek!!!(he's from Courtenay)

WOW whats that tell you?
July 24, 2010 5:12PM Post #12
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HAHAA I was headed to sprout lake on the day fisheries supposably shut them down. There response was to have a salmon BBQ giving out free fish And to stand on the side of the road(practically on it)with signs saying ''DFO promotes racism'' and many other false statemeants. I myself would never buy a fish offf them. But know many that do. All i can say is it must be fun being a fisheries officer in portalberni this time of year.
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