Gitxsan Nation extends fishing ban for non-Indigenous permit holders indefinitely . (Photo courtesy, Travis Murphy)

Gitxsan Nation extends fishing ban for non-Indigenous permit holders indefinitely . (Photo courtesy, Travis Murphy)

Gitxsan Nation extends ban for non-Indigenous fishing permit holders across their territory

The move comes after the province backed away from ongoing discussions with Gitxsan chiefs and DFO

Gitxsan chiefs say they are extending a ban on sportfishing on their traditional territories in northwestern B.C. in response to the provincial government backing away, after two years, of discussions on the future of the fishery on the Skeena River system.

They say permits issued by the provincial government hold no authority unless permission is first received from hereditary chiefs.

According to the Gitxsan chiefs, sportfishing breaks traditional laws.

“We do not play with our fish… we’ve come to understand that catch and release will cause higher fatality,” they said in the statement.

Trespassers will be asked to leave or seek proper permissions and failure to do so, say the chiefs, will mean confiscation of gear and boats although there was no clear indication of who would actually do that.

The Gitxsan Huwilp Government said that the no-trespass zones extend from Legate Creek eastward to Hazelton (90 miles), then from Hazelton northward to Ground Hog mountain, the head waters of the Skeena (200 miles). The watershed includes, Bulkley River, Kitwanga River, Gitsegukla River, Kispiox River, Babine River and the Nass River in the Nass watershed.

The proclaimed ban was first issued in May 2019 with the Gitxsan citing declining fish stocks and Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ mismanagement of fisheries along the Skeena River. Since then, the federal and provincial governments have been in talks with the chiefs.

But last month the province of B.C. left the discussions citing “capacity issues” and “lack of resources”,” said Gwiiiyeehl (Brian Williams), chair of Gigeeenix (Up River Chiefs).

The chiefs are asking B. C. to rethink the decision and return to the table to continue the dialogue in an “executive capacity.”

“It is irresponsible that in an era of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA), where the province cites an increasing commitment to reconciliation, that it would abandon the Gitxsan Huwilp Government in their efforts to self-govern according to their history, laws, and culture,” said Gwiiiyeehl.

“Issuing fishing permits is big business for B.C.’s economy and it seems that prioritizing respectful relationships and adhering to traditional First Nation laws is not on the top of the list,” said Chief Moolxhan (Norman Moore).

The chiefs also said that B.C. left the discussions one month after hereditary chiefs met with Nathan Cullen, the Stikine MLA who is now separating the forests, lands and natural resources ministry into two separate ministries so that forests will be a stand alone entity.

A request for a letter on how to work together to advance truth and reconciliation has been ignored by Cullen’s office, the chiefs say.

In an email statement, B.C.’s Forest Ministry said that the focus of Gitxsan crisis management team’s discussion – salmon harvest management – is a matter that fall under federal jurisdiction.

“We recognize salmon are a vital resource for Gitxsan and other First Nations and the province has a role to play in salmon habitat management,” said Ministry of Forest spokesperson, Tyler Hooper.

The ministry will continue to provide technical support to the crisis management team where discussion involves areas under provincial regulatory control, said Hooper.

Editor’s note: The story has been updated to include a response from the Ministry of Forest.

First NationsfishingSkeena river

Just Posted

A worker at Wee Geordies Liquor Store held at knifepoint on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. A female entered the store and grabbed a bottle of liquor and produced a knife and demanded money. She was not located. (Wee Geordies video surveillance screenshot)
VIDEO: Two stores robbed on the same day in Kitimat

The first incident was at 5:45 a.m. and the second incident occurred 3:30 p.m.

McElhanney worked with the builder, LHLP, to develop a fishway in a highly constrained and fluctuating waterway. (McElhanney file photo)
McElhanney win natural resources and habitat award for the Anderson Creek Fishway

Local team used design elements to minimize the environmental impact of the LNG Canada construction

The community food share garden that was located in Mountainview Square between Pet Valu and BC Liquor store has been relocated to the Cornerstone garden between No frills and the lower mall access. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
Kitimat Food Share Garden getting set up for the season

The District of Kitimat has also contributed $30,600 in 2021 to the TSWA’s Food Share program

An aircraft gets serviced at the Northwest Regional Airport. An apron expansion project undertaken in October last year, will be able to accommodate six aircrafts once ready in May. (Binny Paul/ Terrace Standard)
VIDEO: Northwest Regional Airport apron expansion work nears completion

The $2 million project was undertaken to accommodate increased LNG Canada charter traffic

Kitimat RCMP searching for two robbery suspects. (File photo)
Two robbers, both armed with knives, sought

Incidents took place at corner store, liquor store

A worker at Wee Geordies Liquor Store held at knifepoint on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. A female entered the store and grabbed a bottle of liquor and produced a knife and demanded money. She was not located. (Wee Geordies video surveillance screenshot)
VIDEO: Two stores robbed on the same day in Kitimat

The first incident was at 5:45 a.m. and the second incident occurred 3:30 p.m.

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Most Read