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Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council responds to Marine Harvest Canada and Costal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform

Thursday, August 6th 2009 10:06:28am

August 6, 2009
For Immediate Release

Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council responds to Marine Harvest Canada and Costal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform  

The Musgamagw-Tsawataineuk Tribal Council (MTTC) issues this press release in response to the joint announcement of Marine Harvest Canada (MHC) and the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) that the “preliminary results for their Coordinated Area Management Plan (CAMP) look positive”.

The MHC/CARR announcement states that preliminary studies indicate a lower level of sea lice on wild fish in the Broughton Archipelago during 2009, similar to 2008, than lice levels in the period 2003-2007.   The MTTC wishes to clearly communicate that the 2008 and 2009 levels of sea lice remain unacceptable as an additional risk in light of the ongoing decline of wild salmon stocks in the region and the MTTC’s reliance on the wild stocks in the exercise of our Aboriginal Rights to the food fishery.  

Furthermore, the MHC/CAAR announcement fails to disclose that full implementation of the CAMP agreement depends on doubling the volume of farmed fish in both the Tribune-Fife corridor and the Lower Knight corridor in alternate years to maintain the total volume of farmed fish in the Broughton Archipelago.  This means that in order to manage the expected increase in sea lice on a particular corridor in a given year, the farms will require an increased level of chemical treatment (SLICE), with associated impacts on the sea floor and on bottom fish, shellfish and seaweeds.  

The MTTC does not support the CAMP agreement and objects to its implementation in our traditional territories without our consent.   We also object to publicity campaigns that provide inaccurate representation of the full adverse effects of the CAMP on our marine environment and our associated Aboriginal Title and Rights.  In an effort to implement the principles of the New Relationship, the MTTC is engaged in consultations with the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada through the Aquaculture Working Group and the B.C. First Nations Fisheries Council.  In these processes, the MTTC is seeking the development of a new regulatory framework that respects the MTTC’s Aboriginal Title and Rights and the recent ruling of the B.C. Supreme Court that the provincial government does not have the legal jurisdiction to regulate aquaculture.  

The MTTC supports a complete fallow in the Broughton Archipelago during juvenile out-migration periods that includes all companies operating in the region and precludes expansion of farming until such time as the existing farm tenures are managed according to principles that will ensure sustainable wild fisheries.

For more information contact MTTC Chair Robert Chamberlin at 250-974-8282.