A flat bed of fish totes arrived in Williams Lake Wednesday morning for distribution to four Tsilhqot’in communities. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

A flat bed of fish totes arrived in Williams Lake Wednesday morning for distribution to four Tsilhqot’in communities. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Big Bar slide prompts first-time-ever salmon purchase by four Tsilhqot’in communities

The fish arrived on a flatbed trailer Wednesday in totes for distribution

With bleak prospects for this year’s fishing season due to the Big Bar slide, four Tsilhqot’in communities have purchased hundreds of fish from a Coastal First Nation.

Read more: About 56,000 salmon now past Big Bar slide

On Wednesday morning, Clayton Mortensen of Lake City Glass in Williams Lake was moving 1,000 pound totes of coho off a flatbed trailer and truck belonging to the Okanagan Nations Alliance who transported the salmon from Ahousaht First Nation on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Tl’esqox Chief Francis Laceese said salmon are a main food source and have always been for members of the Tsilhqot’in Nation.

“We’ve fished for thousands of years — it’s part of our rights and title,” he told the Tribune Wednesday.

Normally his community fishes at nearby Farwell Canyon or on IR#3, a 15-acre spot on the Fraser River where they have a fishing site.

Laceese said they’ve purchased 600 salmon and other communities have ordered more or less.

“I’ve always said we should have a back-up plan in case the water got too warm in the rivers and have said we would have to team up with other nations,” he said.

Laceese and Jimmy Lulua, Chief of Xeni Gwet’in said they are also encouraging their members who are able, to fish local lakes for trout.

“We might even have a culture camp in the winter to do some ice fishing,” Laceese said.

Lulua said the band set aside $10,000 to buy fish for the elders and community events.

“We are encouraging everyone that is able to hunt for deer and utilize our lakes to fish,” Lulua said. “Never in our history have we had to buy fish. We always traded.”

The link with the community of Ahousaht was forged by Shawn Atleo, former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, along with his wife Heather have been working for the Tsilhqot’in National Government’s negotiation team for the last three years on the its rights and title case implementation.

“Through Shawn we were able to get fish from them,” Lulua said. “Some of our elders were saying the fish are richer than they are used to.”

On Friday, Aug. 30, the TNG announced a suspension of retention of all salmon from the Chilcotin, Chilko and Taseko rivers and all their tributaries to conserve salmon stocks in light of the Big Bar slide.

Read more: TNG prohibits salmon retention in wake of Big Bar slide

Lulua said the sport fishery on the Fraser River has not been closed which he feels is a ‘wrinkle’ in the TNG’s relationship with Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

“The mandate we’ve heard from DFO is that First Nations come first so if the First Nations fishery is shut down then all fisheries are shut down. We will see what comes. They did tell us we will have an international seat and they are working on that, but it has not happened yet.”

There are spawning beds in title land, Lulua added.

“We are basically the mother that hosts the fish and once they go down to the ocean we don’t have any jurisdiction. We want to have a say on things that are happening to the fish. We need to have a certain amount of fish returning every year and our people should never ever have to worry about fish. Now every year we are having to worry about fish. Things have to change and we will make those changes.”



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Big Bar slide prompts first-time-ever salmon purchase by four Tsilhqot’in communities

Just Posted

The wind has been gusting Friday, March 5 in Williams Lake with the risk of a thunderstorm in the forecast for later in the afternoon. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
More than 500 customers in Cariboo without power, risk of thunderstorm Friday afternoon

The BC Hydro map is adding more power outages as the afternoon unfolds

The two suspects arrested south of 150 Mile House Tuesday, March 2, following a high-speed chase with the RCMP have been charged. (Will Roberts photo)
High-speed chase suspects charged, remain in custody after arrest south of Williams Lake

John Craig and Maggie M. Higgott appeared in Williams Lake Provincial Court March 4

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Many members of the Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club (pictured) have teamed up with the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society to host a free ski in celebration of World Water Day. (Patrick Davies photo - Black Press Media)
Conservation society, cross country ski club, celebrate World Water Day with free ski March 6

The free ski will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 6 at Bull Mountain

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Most Read