March 28, 2013
Wild Salmon is the First and Foremost Priority
(Coast Salish Territory / Vancouver) The Harper Government's Budget 2013 allocates the Department of Fisheries and Oceans $57.5 million over five years to increase "regulatory certainty" in the aquaculture industry ignoring the critical findings and recommendations of the final report of the $26-million Cohen Commission, which was set up to look into the decline of wild sockeye salmon in the Fraser River watershed.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs observed "Commissioner Cohen's exhaustive work highlighted the Harper Government's great efforts to undermine, under-fund and greatly restrict the federal government's role in fish habitat protection. Cohen wrote about the duplicity and complete failure of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, created on the basis to preserve and maintain all fish stocks, most especially the indigenous runs of Pacific wild salmon, but as a department under this federal government has become a stooge for the open-net fish farm industry."
Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs stated "In regards to aquaculture, Commissioner Cohen's most significant recommendation was that DFO should solely focus on the management of wild fisheries, and that the mandate for open-net fish farming be immediately moved from DFO to another federal department, as promotion of aquaculture development is in direct conflict with the interests of wild salmon stocks. Incredibly with Budget 2013, with all of its deficit reductions and programme cuts, the Harper Government snubbed one of the most vital recommendation of the Cohen Commission to the great peril of indigenous wild salmon runs. It is completely unacceptable and First Nations cannot continue to stand idly by as the wild salmon runs die off. We must fight to make wild salmon the first and foremost priority!"
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Chief Bob Chamberlin, (778) 988-9282
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, (250) 490-5314
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