Coastal First Nations will have added supports to make investments in fishing gear, vessels, infrastructure and operations under an amended Fisheries Resources Reconciliation Agreement (FRRA), announced on Aug. 6.
The announcement of the signing of a new agreement was made jointly by Marylin Slett, chief and president of the Coastal First Nations with member representatives of the CFN, and the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Bernadette Jordan.
The amended agreement also encourages greater flexibility in commercial community-based fisheries encouraging higher flexibility in community participation and increased access to fishing licences and quotas. The original agreement was signed in 2019.
“Through this agreement, our people will have a significant say in the management of the oceans while at the same time have the ability to once again participate in the maritime economy,” Slett said. “With this new arrangement and cooperative approach we expect to work together with the federal government to advance our common goal of caring for the ocean.”
“The FRRA is the first of its kind in B.C. to establish a collaborative fisheries management process by Canada and First Nations in the B.C. North and Central Coast, and Haida Gwaii. The governance model between DFO and the CFN member nations includes a collaborative engagement process with a wide range of stakeholders in British Columbia and consultation with other First Nations,” the Ministry of Fisheries stated, in a media release.
Under the agreement, funding for access to commercial fishing opportunities for the eight CFN member First Nations on the B.C. North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii will be provided. As well, the agreement provides jobs in the home communities of First Nations participating such as Metlakatla, Heiltsuk, Gitga’at, Kitasoo/Xai’xais, Nuxalk, Wuikinuxv, and Gitxaala Nations.
“This historic agreement demonstrates Canada’s commitment to reconciliation and to reviewing our relationship with Indigenous peoples based on rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. Working together, we’ll create new economic opportunities for First Nations communities in the North and Central Coast of British Columbia, and Haida Gwaii, now and for generations to come,” Jordan said.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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