Canada given one year to sort out B.C. First Nations commercial fishery: court
Sockeye salmon sit on a commercial fishing boat as they're unloaded at Steveston Harbour during a 32-hour fishery window in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday August 26, 2010. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
VANCOUVER - A group of West Coast First Nations has won the right to harvest and sell fish commercially after a 12-year court battle.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Mary Humphries has ruled Fisheries and Oceans Canada has one year to establish a commercial fishery for the five First Nations collectivelly known as Nuu-chah-nulth.
However, Nuu-chah-nulth president Judith Sayers says that if the government is serious about implementing their rights, it should let the bands begin fishing immediately.
In the 400-page judgment, Humphries sets out the parameters for the Indigenous fisheries involving species including a variety of salmon, groundfish, crab, prawn and shellfish.
Fisheres Minister Dominic LeBlanc says in a statement that he has directed his ministry to take immediate steps and review the Pacific salmon allocation policy, while collaborating with First Nations groups and stakeholders on new policy.
Gord Johns, a Vancouver Island member of Parliament, says he'll be in Ottawa next week to remind the government of its obligation.