Enough is enough

First Nations traditional territorial waters being taken away from commercial fishermen

My name is George Quocksister Jr. I am hereditary chief of the Awhwaoo tribe of the Laichwiltach Nation. I learned how to become a commercial fisherman from my elders years ago.

It’s a way to survive, to make a living in this world, to feed my family like so many other jobs.

In the territorial waters of our peoples up and down the coasts, through the years we have had our territorial waters taken away from us, put aside for the tourism industry only, namely Hakai Pass area 8-2 and Rivers Inlet Esstra.

Three years ago they took away area 13-7 which is from Loggers Bay to Deep Water Bay in my people’s home territorial waters. I was at a meeting May 11, 2015 at 7 p.m. with Fisheries people and some of the tourism panel people. I told the people at this meeting that the portion they took, half of area 13-7 – the bottom half of Deep Water Bay – is a much safer zone for our boats and crew to work in during bad west winds. So I promised them at the meeting that if we don’t get that back where it originally belongs for commercial fishermen, we will be putting our nets inside and outside our Campbell River when fish arrive and harvest the fish. I told the people at the meeting that I have respect for tourist fishermen but taking away our commercial fishing grounds is just not good. A fisheries officer said at the end of the meeting that they will deal with the matter. Let’s hope they do. I am asking for many relatives involved in this matter. My ancestors’ fish traps are still in our Campbell River.

George Quocksister Jr.