A group of three coastal First Nations say a coalition of pro-industry First Nations were wrong to use a provincial letter of understanding to plead their case for the federal government to renew farm licenses.
The Mamalilikulla First Nation, ‘Nagmis First Nation, and the Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation — together referred to as the Broughton First Nations — say they are “deeply offended” by the actions of the Coalition of First Nations for Finfish Stewardship, according to a joint press release.
The announcement follows an effort from the pro-fish farm coalition to urge the federal government to renew salmon farm licenses set to expire by the end of June 2022.
According to the press release, the coalition “spuriously” included a 2018 Letter of Understanding between the Province of British Columbia and these three First Nations, as evidence of support for finfish aquaculture. The Broughton First Nations say they entered into that letter to address their lack of consent to the operation of open-net salmon farms.
“Including the Letter of Understanding between the Province of British Columbia and the Broughton First Nations, and the related agreements between the Broughton First Nations and industry licensees, as an example of support for the Coalition’s goals is entirely wrong,” the coalition’s press release says.
“Including that Letter of Understanding, and the related agreements with industry licensees, without any contact with our leadership is deeply disappointing, especially given the Coalition’s stated ambition of respecting First Nations’ decision-making authority.”
The Broughton First Nations say they have individually and collectively opposed to Atlantic salmon farms being in their territories for decades — and “never consented to the operation of open net-pen feedlots in their territories.”
Pursuant to the Letter of Understanding, on November 30, 2018, the Broughton First Nations and the Province of British Columbia released their joint recommendations for an orderly transition of 17 fish farms from the Broughton Archipelago. So far, ten fish farms have been removed. That transition is continuing, according to the release.
The three nations will decide if they remaining seven farms in their territories will continue to operate in their territories, according to the release.