B.C. First Nation files Aboriginal Rights lawsuit against Canada over salmon farms in their territory  - APTN NewsAPTN News

B.C. First Nation files Aboriginal Rights lawsuit against Canada over salmon farms in their territory 

Salmon Farm

Kingcome Inlet Fish Farm. Photo Courtesy: Dzawada’enuxw First Nation

Laurie Hamelin
APTN News
The Dzawada’enuxw First Nation of Kingcome is taking legal action against Canada to remove 10 salmon farms from their traditional waters located in the Broughton Archipelago northeast of Vancouver Island.

“We are standing up to say we are taking back our lands, territories and resources, said Traditional Leader Willie Moon of Dzawada’enuxw First Nation (DFN).

“I know how the government works, they divide and conquer our elected and our traditional [leadership], but today we stand united with our elected moving forward for our people and our children.”

The community has said no to open-net fish farms for 30 years.

The statement of claim, filed in federal court argues that the federal government authorized fish farm licenses without their consultation or consent.

The claim also says fish farm operations pollute and poison wild salmon.

The Dzawada’enuxw believe that open-net pens pose a serious threat to already low salmon stocks and have been actively protesting against the industry for three years.

Salmon Farm

(Members of Dzawada’enuxw First Nation and supporters gather in downtown Vancouver. Photo Courtesy: Rob Smith/APTN)

DFN members occupied Midsummer Island fish farm, owned by Marine Harvest Canada, but were ordered off in December 2017 by a court injunction.

Jack Woodward, the nation’s lawyer, represented the Tsilhqot’in in their landmark title and rights case.

“This is an action against Canada to terminate the federal licences which authorize fish farms,” said Woodward.

“The legal basis of the case is that these federal licences infringe upon my client’s constitutionally-protected Aboriginal Rights.”

This lawsuit is the third court challenge the DFN has filed since last year.

“A win on any one of these cases could end fish farm licences for Atlantic salmon on the B.C. coast,” said Woodward.

Last month the B.C. government announced a plan to phase out some fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago, but it did not include DFN.

The Dzawada’enuxw left the government-to-government talks early last year.

Although DFN believes the new deal between three other First Nations and the Province made some progress in protecting wild salmon from fish farms, they fear critical gaps remain.

Chief Moon said DFN is taking matters into their owns hands, “Our membership said zero tolerance.”

“Get those fish farms out of the water!”

lhamelin@aptn.ca

@laurie_hamelin

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20 Responses to “B.C. First Nation files Aboriginal Rights lawsuit against Canada over salmon farms in their territory ”

  1. garyprebble@gmail.com'
    gary prebble January 24, 2019 at 6:25 am #

    You give me hope for a future for humanity… a new set of human/earth values is emerging
    thank you

  2. g**********@gmail.com'
    gary prebble February 19, 2019 at 6:15 pm #

    You give me hope for a future for humanity… a new set of human/earth values is emerging
    thank you

  3. Gadsden@shaw.ca'
    Chris Gadsden January 23, 2019 at 11:43 pm #

    Thanks for covering this Laurie

  4. g******@shaw.ca'
    Chris Gadsden February 19, 2019 at 6:15 pm #

    Thanks for covering this Laurie

  5. trudyspiller1977@gmail.com'
    Trudy Spiller January 20, 2019 at 8:33 pm #

    So grateful to Chief Moon. Every year, I return to our Gitxsan territory to harvest our salmon and we are told “the sockeye numbers are down, you cannot even gather food fish until the numbers go up.” Sometimes we wait a month. Thank you for looking after our BC salmon

  6. larrybelcourt4@gmail.com'
    Larry January 20, 2019 at 7:51 pm #

    Excellent job stand your ground ….the government is going too far with there Atlantic companies ideas to destroy wild salmon that these first Nations people ( land owners) feed off these fish I think they know the difference when they’ve been living off there land for decades these salmon farming groups have no right to be there First Nations people are not Guinea pigs

  7. t***************@gmail.com'
    Trudy Spiller February 19, 2019 at 6:15 pm #

    So grateful to Chief Moon. Every year, I return to our Gitxsan territory to harvest our salmon and we are told “the sockeye numbers are down, you cannot even gather food fish until the numbers go up.” Sometimes we wait a month. Thank you for looking after our BC salmon

  8. l*************@gmail.com'
    Larry February 19, 2019 at 6:15 pm #

    Excellent job stand your ground ….the government is going too far with there Atlantic companies ideas to destroy wild salmon that these first Nations people ( land owners) feed off these fish I think they know the difference when they’ve been living off there land for decades these salmon farming groups have no right to be there First Nations people are not Guinea pigs

  9. sjhay2017@gmail.com'
    Susan J Hay January 20, 2019 at 6:40 am #

    Wow I thought Aboriginals were fighting for equality in Canada? So how can they file a suit against themselves? Also, since when is their Canada different than anybody else’s? I feel that the Aboriginals are Separatist in disguise along with some Quebecers? Canada must stay whole and get along with everyone to OUR COUNTRY STRONG!
    Thank you. 1/16th Native! Susan J.

    • turnerann@hotmail.com'
      ann January 22, 2019 at 4:03 pm #

      Susan- you should read the reconciliation Manifesto by Arthur Manuel, it will answer many of your questions. t’s a great read

  10. Wbonsan@relus.net'
    Wayne Bonsan January 20, 2019 at 5:04 am #

    Thanks for the update. Great news.

  11. Wbonsan@relus.net'
    Wayne Bonsan January 20, 2019 at 5:04 am #

    Thanks for the update. Great news.

  12. Jlawells@gmail.com'
    Judith Wells January 20, 2019 at 2:29 am #

    Good for you. The Great Spirit and Mother are with you. Face the intruders in the eye and you will not blink or waver in your resolve. The light will transform the ignorance and darkness and banish it from your lands, when you stand in a aPeace and Justice.
    So Be It ! There are many white sisters and brothers who will speak with Spirit for your victory.
    BLESSINGS JLA ( FRIEND OF Wave Walker, James Henry Spencer. Salt Spring Island.

  13. dreamcatcher2possibilities@outlook.com'
    Clara January 20, 2019 at 1:46 am #

    Yes! it’s way overdue that our Indigenius Peoples took back their lands resources and Constitutional Rights. Thank you to all Peoples who stand in solidarity for standing up for their lands resources and Constitutional Rights. I STAND WITH YOU, WITH ALL OUR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ON TURTLE ISLAND.

  14. s********@gmail.com'
    Susan J Hay February 19, 2019 at 8:57 pm #

    Wow I thought Aboriginals were fighting for equality in Canada? So how can they file a suit against themselves? Also, since when is their Canada different than anybody else’s? I feel that the Aboriginals are Separatist in disguise along with some Quebecers? Canada must stay whole and get along with everyone to OUR COUNTRY STRONG!
    Thank you. 1/16th Native! Susan J.

    • t********@hotmail.com'
      ann February 19, 2019 at 8:58 pm #

      Susan- you should read the reconciliation Manifesto by Arthur Manuel, it will answer many of your questions. t’s a great read

  15. w******@relus.net'
    Wayne Bonsan February 19, 2019 at 6:15 pm #

    Thanks for the update. Great news.

  16. w******@relus.net'
    Wayne Bonsan February 19, 2019 at 8:57 pm #

    Thanks for the update. Great news.

  17. j*******@gmail.com'
    Judith Wells February 19, 2019 at 6:15 pm #

    Good for you. The Great Spirit and Mother are with you. Face the intruders in the eye and you will not blink or waver in your resolve. The light will transform the ignorance and darkness and banish it from your lands, when you stand in a aPeace and Justice.
    So Be It ! There are many white sisters and brothers who will speak with Spirit for your victory.
    BLESSINGS JLA ( FRIEND OF Wave Walker, James Henry Spencer. Salt Spring Island.

  18. d*************************@outlook.com'
    Clara February 19, 2019 at 8:57 pm #

    Yes! it’s way overdue that our Indigenius Peoples took back their lands resources and Constitutional Rights. Thank you to all Peoples who stand in solidarity for standing up for their lands resources and Constitutional Rights. I STAND WITH YOU, WITH ALL OUR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ON TURTLE ISLAND.