Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour says freighters should not be anchoring off Cowichan shores. (File photo)

Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour says freighters should not be anchoring off Cowichan shores. (File photo)

Cowichan Tribes against anchorage of freighters in local waters

MP Alistair MacGregor introduced bill on issue last month

Cowichan Tribes has joined the fight to prohibit freighters from anchoring in coastal waters along the Salish Sea.

Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour said the southern Gulf Islands are the heart of Cowichan Tribes’ marine territory where members harvest food and resources daily to sustain themselves.

“Tanker traffic and anchorages in these inside waters and narrow passages between islands pose an unacceptable risk to the ecological integrity that sustains our food resources, which are critical to the long-term livelihoods and well-being of our members,” said Seymour.

“Canada introduced the Interim Protocol for the Use of BC Anchorages in early 2018. The federal Crown implemented this Interim Protocol in our marine territory without securing Cowichan Tribes’ free, prior and informed consent, and consultation on the protocol’s impacts to our aboriginal and indigenous rights has been shallow, intermittent and rushed.”

Last month, Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor introduced a Private Member’s Bill in Ottawa to amend the Canada Shipping Act to prohibit the anchoring of freighter vessels using coastal waters along the Salish Sea.

RELATED STORY: MACGREGOR INTRODUCES BILL TO ADDRESS PROBLEM FREIGHTER ANCHORAGES

It’s becoming a long-standing issue particularly for residents of Saltair, Chemainus, Thetis and Penelakut islands, other Gulf Islands, Cowichan Bay, Ladysmith and Nanaimo.

Some of the parked freighters are as large as 300 metres in size.

In addition to the noise and light pollution, there are concerns about the affects to the marine environment.

Repeated calls have been made by community groups and First Nations about protecting clam beds, prawns, oysters and endangered species, such as the southern resident killer whales, from the environmental impact of the anchored shipping vessels.

Seymour said Cowichan Tribes has been working tirelessly for decades to restore the ecological function and balance of Cowichan Bay and estuary.

He said a fuel spill or vessel grounding in Cowichan Bay or in the southern Gulf Islands would be catastrophic and would set back the First Nation’s restoration efforts by decades and threaten its food security.

RELATED STORY: GROUP TAKING ACTION ON INCREASED FREIGHTER ANCHORAGES AROUND THETIS ISLAND

“Cowichan Tribes have repeatedly raised their serious concerns with the federal Crown, which have gone substantially or wholly unaddressed by the Interim Protocol,” Seymour said.

“These concerns include continued bilge pumping, impacts to fish and mammal species from increased underwater acoustic noise due to dropping and weighing anchor, impacts to the ocean floor from dragging of anchor, aerial particulate inputs and small chemical spills that may occur while ships are at anchor in these inland waters, noise and light pollution, and illegal fishing by vessel occupants.”

Seymour said that Cowichan Tribes, as a constituent community of the historic Cowichan (Quw’utsun) Nation, has never ceded and continues to retain its inherent jurisdiction over its marine territory.

“Our leadership, organization, and community express concern for the impacts of commercial and recreational activity, including unauthorized anchoring in our marine territory,” he said.

“We urge all orders of government, industry and other stakeholders to work together with us to manage and protect our resources.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

First Nations

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

Just Posted

(Village of Sayward)
Sayward elects new mayor and two council members

New mayor-elect Mark Baker and council members will be sworn in on Dec. 1.

The Strathcona Regional District received Safe Restart funding from the provincial government. File photo
SRD receives provincial safe restart funding

Allocation of funds to be determined by staff

Jessi Vanderveen (left), healthyway Assistant supplements manager, and Tara Jordan, CR KidStart Coordinator,  announce that Healthyway Natural Foods will match in-store donations to John Howard KidStart on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, up to $1,000. Photo contributed
Help John Howard KidStart on Giving Tuesday

John Howard KidStart needs your help this Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1. Two… Continue reading

Pathway To Freedom, a non-profit society based in Surrey, wants to open two men’s addiction recovery houses in Campbell River as early as next April. Metro Creative photo
Two new addictions recovery houses could be on their way to Campbell River

‘I just want to help. That’s my hometown. And enough is enough.’

Ian Baikie shows the new booths at the Harbourside Inn restaurant space, which is being converted to a community kitchen for Campbell River’s population of vulnerable people. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
PHOTOS: New community kitchen coming to Campbell River

Kitchen will provide a safe, warm place for vulnerable population to eat in downtown core

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

Chelsey Moore’s character Chloe in the upcoming virtual reality game Altdeus: Beyond Chronos. Screengrab
Black Creek actress finds success in a virtual world

Chelsey Moore lends her voice to a new video game set for release in December

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

Most Read