Salmon Rebellion: First Nations have a plan to get salmon farms out of their waters

Monday, January 22, 2018
Author: 
Heather Smith
Source: 
Sierra Club

On August 24 of last year, Ernest Alfred, an elementary school teacher and hereditary chief from the 'Namgis, Lawit'sis and Mamalilikala First Nations, boated out to Swanson Island, in British Columbia, and began to set up tents with a small group of other First Nations activists.

A few days earlier, Alfred had been sitting in an emergency community meeting about the problem of the fish farms of the Broughton Archipelago. Many people, including Alfred, were certain the pens were the reason behind the long decline of wild salmon in their homeland. Decades of grassroots organizing and lawsuits had shifted the balance of power between BC’s First Nations and the Canadian agencies that had leased the areas to the fish farms in the first place. In June 2018, several leases in the waters of the Musgmagw Dzawada’enuwx. First Nations would expire, and hopes were high that the leases would not be renewed.

But Marine Harvest, the Norwegian company that held those leases, wasn’t acting like they were expiring. Instead, they were making plans to restock the farms with smolts—young Atlantic salmon that wouldn’t be ready to harvest when the leases ended. Alfred didn’t think that the community could risk any more delays. Last fall, the wild salmon run in the archipelago had been frighteningly low.

Latest Opportunities

Senior First Nations Relations Advisor

Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
January 11, 2022

Communications Officer

First Nations Public Service Secretariat
January 10, 2022

Coordinator, Elders in Residence Programs, Indigenous Health

Vancouver Coastal Health
January 6, 2022