Lax Kw’alaams fisheries - by Penny White
The federal Fisheries Act governs the management of fisheries and protection of fish and fish habitat in Canada. In 2015, Canada launched a process to modernize the Fisheries Act to restore lost protections and add modern safeguards.
Between 2016 and 2018, FNFC formed a coalition with regional First Nations organizations across BC that comprised over 170 member First Nations communities. FNFC hosted a number of regional and province-wide workshops to bring together First Nations and DFO to discuss changes to the Fisheries Act. The coalition submitted broadly supported recommendations to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans through two collaborative responses.
Fisheries Act amendments resulted in many positive changes, including:
- stronger consideration of Aboriginal Rights in government decision making
- the ability to form agreements/partnerships with Indigenous governing bodies to improve cooperation and communication
- consideration of Indigenous Knowledge (IK) in decision making when provided, and protection mechanisms for IK
- improved mechanisms for Indigenous Peoples to engage in project reviews, monitoring, policy development, etc.
A number of regulations and programs under the Fisheries Act are still being developed/updated, and First Nations must be meaningfully engaged in this process.
Resources and publications
FNFC Letter to FOPO Re Fisheries Act Review Process [October 17, 2016]
I am writing to you on behalf of the First Nations Fisheries Council of BC (FNFC). The FNFC was established in 2008 as an organization that works with First Nations in British Columbia on issues related to fisheries and aquatic resource management.
FNFC Submission to FOPO Re Review of Fisheries Act Changes [November 29, 2016]
FNFC was established in 2008 as an organization that works with First Nations in British Columbia on issues related to fisheries and aquatic resource management.
FNFC Letter to Minister Leblanc Re Fisheries Act Changes [January 31, 2017]
The First Nations Fisheries Council of BC (FNFC) welcomed this government’s commitment to review the changes made in 2012 to the Fisheries Act and to restore lost protections and incorporate modern safeguards into the Act.
FNFC Coalition Brief to FOPO Re Bill C-68 [April 20, 2018]
This Coalition of First Nations organizations in British Columbia was formed in 2016 through coordination with the First Nations Fisheries Council of British Columbia (FNFC) to collaboratively participate in the Government of Canada’s current and ongoing review of the Fisheries Act, RSC 1985, c F-14 (the “Act”).
FNFC Letter to Minister Leblanc Re Coalition Response to Bill C-68 [May 29, 2018]
The First Nations Fisheries Council of British Columbia (“FNFC”) was established in 2007 as an organization that works with British Columbia First Nations to support, protect, reconcile, and advance First Nations Title and Rights as they relate to fisheries and the health, management and protection of aquatic resources.