Fishing rights are laws of the land

The economic fishing rights accorded to the five Nations under Ahousaht et al are unique in Canada

The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council would like to correct several points that were reported in your Sept. 24 story, “ELECTION 2015: ‘Most important election in First Nations peoples history,’” by Kristen Douglas.

Paragraph 6 reads: “Last year, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a 1990 B.C. court decision confirming the right of native people to fish and sell their catch.”

In 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear Canada’s appeal of a B.C. Court of Appeal ruling affirming the right of five Nuu-chah-nulth Nations to fish and sell fish caught in their territories.

The case, known as Ahousaht et al, was decided in B.C. Supreme Court in 2009 (not 1990) and has been re-affirmed twice through the B.C. Appeal Court process.

The economic fishing rights accorded to the five Nations under Ahousaht et al are unique in Canada and Constitutionally-protected: they are the law of the land.

However, Canada is now back in court arguing that DFO’s past and ongoing infringements of Nuu-chah-nulth economic fishing rights are justified.

The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council believes the ability of our members to engage in commercial seafood harvesting within our territories is beneficial to all people in our coastal communities, aboriginal and non-aboriginal alike.

We do not understand why the Conservative government opposes the Court decision, upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada, that would allow some of our members to make a living from the sea resources on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Debra Foxcroft, President

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council

Ken Watts, Vice-President

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council