Since the Morton Decision in 2009, the FNFC has engaged First Nations in discussions regarding their role in the management of aquaculture in BC. First Nations have been clear about the limitations of DFO’s Aquaculture Management Advisory Committee (AMAC) process, and have provided direction to the FNFC to focus energy and resources on developing a more clearly defined aquaculture process among BC First Nations at the Tier 1 level. BC First Nations have developed the Tier 1 Aquaculture Coordinating Committee (ACC), which is guided by 10 common principles:
1. Recognition of Title and Rights
2. Meaningful engagement, consultation and accommodation
3. Area-based management
4. Capacity development
5. Monitoring and enforcement
6. Transparency and information sharing
7. Inclusive science, including ATK/TEK
8. Corporate responsibility
9. Balance of economic opportunity and environmental impact
10. Stock recovery and habitat restoration
These broad principles guide collaboration and cooperation toward common goals, including contributing respective strengths to achieve progress on priority issues identified by First Nations at local and regional levels.
Participation in the ACC is based on the FNFC model of 14 geographic regions, and delegates to the ACC are appointed to participate by their regions. While the FNFC’s core work on aquaculture takes place at the ACC table, the FNFC also communicates broadly with BC First Nations on various issues and activities related to aquaculture, and also coordinates the development of resources and workshops on aquaculture topics of interest to First Nations.
In 2014, the ACC developed the Declaration on First Nations Aquaculture Governance, which was based on community forums and feedback received over several years. The Declaration defines a collective and coherent working relationship among First Nations to advance positions and perspectives of common interest in the provision of policy advice and management of marine finfish, shellfish and freshwater aquaculture.