VICTORIA, B.C. – Today Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, responded to the government’s announcement that they have extended negotiations with the ‘Namgis, Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis and Mamalilikulla First Nations.
“Only engaging First Nations with fish farms bolted to their traditional territory is the same divide-and-conquer colonial governance that this government has committed to moving away from,” said Adam Olsen, caucus spokesperson for wild salmon and Indigenous relations and reconciliation.
“While I honour and respect the rights of the ‘Namgis, Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis and Mamalilikulla First Nations to make decisions about their territory and for their people, it is the provincial government's responsibility to also facilitate broader discussion with all Indigenous communities who are affected by open-pen fish farms.
“The province is pretending that salmon do not migrate thousands of kilometres across our province and through numerous Indigenous territories. I will use my community, the W̱SÁNEĆ First Nation, as an example. We don’t have any fish farms in our territory, but the salmon we have traditionally harvested migrate through the Broughton archipelago. The pre-Confederation Douglas Treaty protects our right to ‘hunt and fish as formerly.’ Government’s aquaculture policy has no recognition of the implications of fish farms on these rights.
“The reality is the B.C. NDP promised to transition open-pen fish farms out of migratory routes. With the support of our caucus, there is a majority of MLAs in the B.C. Legislature who campaigned on this commitment. We are supported by the vast majority of British Columbians who want this transition, as well as numerous industry groups and the UBCM, all who have issued calls to end open-pen fish farms over the past year.”
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