Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen. (File photo)

Cullen demands action on Ecstall River

Failing to penalize parties involved undermines all salmon conservation efforts, MP says

Nathan Cullen is calling for “clear and swift action” against those involved in the Ecstall River fishing controversy. In a press release May 14 the Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP issued the statement following a Terrace Standard report on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans closing their investigation without laying charges or closing loopholes to prevent a similar infraction from occurring again.

“The DFO needs to take action to penalize those involved and ensure the rules are followed by everyone, including wealthy Americans,” Cullen said.

READ MORE: Anglers furious over VIP fishing trip

The investigation was triggered last summer when the Komoham Lodge negotiated the use of a First Nations communal fishing licence from the Lax-Kw’alaams band. The lodge’s wealthy, high-profile U.S. guests were caught by DFO on the Ecstall River, a lower tributary of the Skeena, fishing for chinook during recreational fishing closures.

Lodge management said the excursion was scientific in nature with DFO support behind it, but DFO denied knowledge of the exercise.

“The DFO needs to be crystal clear that this will not occur again and that they will be closing loopholes that were used to bypass conservation and Indigenous access programs,” Cullen said.

“We cannot let foreign commercial interests come before protecting wild salmon stocks, especially when all other user groups and First Nations are pitching in and taking on that burden.”

Cullen says he’s sent two letters to DFO on the matter but has yet to receive a reply. He’s requesting a response that will restore confidence that conservation efforts among area residents are not in vain.

The angling community worries the incident has already set a precedent, where conservation measures can be ignored at the right price.

News of the investigation’s conclusion surfaced at a meeting for the Lower Skeena Sport Fishing Advisory Committee March 12. According to the minutes, an attending DFO officer said the file is closed, as the angling was in fact legally permitted through the Aboriginal Food Social and Ceremonial communal license.

READ MORE: No charges laid in VIP fishing trip to Ecstall River, anglers told

It was noted future communal licenses could be written differently so similar incidents don’t occur in the future. But DFO did not confirm with the Terrace Standard whether the investigation is formally closed. In a vaguely-worded email a spokesperson said the matter was still in discussion on some level.

“Fishery officers from the Conservation and Protection Program continue to work with our internal and external partners to provide clarity and information regarding this situation to all concerned,” the email read.

“The objective is to ensure that a full understanding of the intent and communication requirements [of communal licences] is reached with all.”


 


quinn@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Village might earn $384,000 in camp deal

The Village of Burns Lake is set to receive hundreds of thousands… Continue reading

Helping the Burns Lake community for 13 years

In its 13 years of existence, the Burns Lake and District Community… Continue reading

TV signals restored, rebroadcast society says

Television reception for Burns Lake and Southside residents with regular TVs was… Continue reading

BC Moose Tracker app aids in management

There are smartphone apps that compile user data on restaurants, bars and… Continue reading

Nations Cannabis building up

Construction continues on the Nations Cannabis production facility, located near Decker Lake,… Continue reading

Third instance of Trudeau in skin-darkening makeup emerges

Another instance of Trudeau using makeup to darken his face has emerged, within 24 hours of the first

B.C., Alaska officials fail to reach ferry deal

Alaska Marine Highway System ferry service to Prince Rupert is scheduled to end Sept. 30

Nelson man accused of swimming naked at Toronto aquarium expected to plead guilty

David Weaver, of Nelson, was arrested and charged in October of last year

VIDEO: Party leaders react to Trudeau’s brownface photo bombshell

Fallout from Justin Trudeau’s brownface photo, and two other instances, sure to dominate campaign

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized, BC SPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

Most Read