First Nations Fisheries

A United Voice for First Nations Fisheries

Our Mandate:

Ratified by the participants at the 2009 Fall Fisheries Assembly in Nanaimo BC, and endorsed by resolution of the BC Assembly of First Nations, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the First Nations Summit, the mandate of the FNFC is as follows:

The First Nations Fisheries Council works with and on behalf of BC First Nations to protect and reconcile First Nations rights and title as they relate to fisheries and the health and protection of aquatic resources. The Council will achieve the mandate by working to:

  • advance and protect First Nations Title and Rights related to fisheries and aquatic  resources, including priority access for food, cultural and economic purposes;
  • support First Nations to build and maintain capacity related to fishing, planning,  policy, law, management, and decision-making at a variety of scales (local, regional,  national and international); and
  • facilitate discussions related to the development of a British Columbia-wide First  Nations-based collaborative management framework that recognizes and respects  First Nations jurisdiction, management authority and responsibilities.

Our Mission:

In accordance with our Mandate, the First Nations Fisheries Council Mission Statement will guide the operationalization of the Strategic Plan:

The First Nations Fisheries Council works with and on behalf of BC First Nations to protect, reconcile, and advance First Nations title and rights as they relate to fisheries and the health and protection of aquatic resources, including access for food, cultural, and economic purposes. In recognition of the need to advance common positions on fisheries matters through a united front and a united voice, the First Nations Fisheries Council works to develop the necessary capacity and relationships that enable BC First Nations to influence the integrated planning and management of fisheries and aquatic resources. By establishing a coherent process and cohesive messaging for cooperation and collaboration among First Nations and between First Nations and government, BC First Nations can become active fisheries managers and decision-makers to ensure fisheries resources are conserved for the benefit of future generations.

Our Vision:

As stated in the BC First Nations Fisheries Action Plan (2007), the Vision of the FNFC is as follows:

“Our ancestors have passed on to us the responsibility to protect our land, water and resources as they have before us, and to pass on our traditional values and practices to future generations. First Nations in BC will work together – based on respect for each other and the natural world – to address issues in the fishery for our common good and to enhance the well being of our communities. We will strive to maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems and species and restore them as necessary. We will work in partnership and share management responsibility based on our ownership of our territories and our right to manage the fishery. We will work with other governments and third parties to ensure recognition and respect of our title and rights and conservation and appropriate management of the resource.”

In various forums, BC First Nations have articulated a vision of a fishery that focuses on the health and sustainability of ecosystems and species as well as the equitable sharing of fisheries and aquatic resources among aboriginal and non-aboriginal people alike.

For the FNFC, it is imperative to support the development of an inclusive, equitable, and transparent mechanism that provides First Nations the opportunity to advance collective interests in a variety of processes, including through Tier 1 (First Nation-to-First Nation), Tier 2 (government-to-government) and Tier 3 (multi-stakeholder) processes.