Drought causes salmon shortage for Island First Nations

Monday, November 9, 2015
Skye Ryan
CHEK News Victoria

Taking eggs from spawning chinook salmon, Don Elliott Jr. feels like he’s really doing something for his people of Cowichan Tribes. Completing the circle of life for struggling stocks at Cowichan Hatchery to ensure, the run stays alive for generations to come.

“Then you know ok these are gonna be okay. It’s a really good feeling. Then when I get closer and closer to our quota then I stop worrying,” says Elliott.

And as soon as they’re done emptying the salmon bellies here, the fish are smoker bound to Frank Wilson’s.

“I think it’s very important for all of us to have the salmon running all the time,” Wilson says.

Kindling the First Nations Tradition of living off the land, that was almost entirely closed down by this year’s record drought and low water levels.

“It enables them to ensure that there’s food on the table through the winter, says Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour.

But to save the run that looked on the brink of disaster the fishery was closed all summer. And now the lack of salmon is hitting home.

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