Chinook salmon. Undated file photo

Illegal salmon selling claim disputed by Cheam chief Ernie Crey

Feds are dragging their feet on renewing a deal that would make sales legal, Crey said

A warning by the federal fisheries department that illegal salmon selling was “rampant and open” in the Lower Mainland, especially Langley, is being disputed by Cheam chief Ernie Crey, a long-time First Nations fishing rights activist.

Crey said federal authorities have been dragging their feet on renewing an agreement that allows legal selling of salmon by First Nations people along the Fraser River.

“We wouldn’t be in this predicament if the agreement had been signed,” Crey said.

READ MORE: Illegal salmon selling “rampant and open” in Langley, fisheries department says

He was responding to a statement issued last week by a spokesperson for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region, who said there has been a “significant volume of public complaints around rampant and open illegal sales of fresh salmon.”

“These sales not only represent a significant risk to human health, they also pose a considerable risk to salmon stocks that are vulnerable,” the statement said.

Crey said since 1992, an “Economic Opportunity” that allows legal salmon selling by First Nations has been renewed virtually every fishing season, but this year, it has been delayed several weeks past the usual signing date.

“It’s sitting on someone’s desk in Ottawa,” Crey said.

“Why, I’m not exactly sure.”

Crey said First Nations people are selling salmon without a signed agreement because they assume it was renewed as usual.

“It (renewal of the agreement) has kind of become routine for our fishermen,” said Crey.

With no sales agreement in place, fisheries officers have to lay charges, Crey added.

The chief also disputed the claim that the selling could put salmon stocks at risk, saying licences for sport and commercial fishermen are in the process of being issued, something that would not happen if there were concerns about salmon numbers on the Fraser River.

“That fishery is closely monitored,” Crey said.

READ ALSO: Culvert design aimed at saving salmon in Langley Township

In response to a query from the Times, Leri Davies, a spokesperson for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region, said negotiations with a number of indigenous groups on “agreements that include the allowance to sell some quantum of fish” in the Lower Fraser are underway.

“These negotiations started preseason and are at various stages at the current time and staff are working to finalize and come to agreements where possible within the week,” Davies said.

“As always, it is the responsibility of everyone who fishes, or sells fish and fish products, to know the regulations for the type of activity they plan to do.”



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Chinook salmon. Undated file photo

Just Posted

RCMP hope to trace final days of Chilliwack woman

The body of Laura Clark was found in the Fraser River July 25

B.C. declares state of emergency as wildfires rage

More than 3,300 firefighters are battling more than 500 fires

Highway 7 down to one-lane alternating as crews fight Mt. Hicks wildfire

150-hectare blaze prompted closure of a provincial park

Flight Fest to take off in Chilliwack once again

After a year-long break, Flight Fest is returning to the Chilliwack airport

Semi in ditch on Highway 1 in Abbotsford

Westbound traffic backed up Wednesday morning

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

‘Can’t erase history’ by tearing down statues, Minister says

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna spoke on the contentious removal of John A. Macdonald

Canadian soccer captain Christine Sinclair continues to lead fight against MS

Burgers to Beat MS has raised more than $11 million since its inception in 2009

Fraser Valley Bandits announce season ticket prices

Basketball team set to tip-off in summer of 2019

Man seriously injured in Lower Mainland home explosion

Police are trying to figure out what led to a homemade explosive detonating in a Coquitlam home

VIDEO: Post-surgery monologue comedy gold

If you’ve ever had surgery with anaesthetic you know the coming out of it process can be a treat.

Ledcor readies to lift sunken tug from mouth of B.C.’s Fraser River

George H. Ledcor, a barge-hauling tug operated by the Ledcor Group, went down Monday night

LETTERS: Doctors speak out on surgical wait times for B.C. patients

‘Governments know they will lose private clinic lawsuit’

Police issue warning that 19-year-old poses ‘significant’ risk to the public

Varinderpal ‘VP’ Gill of Abbotsford involved in Lower Mainland gang conflict, police say

Most Read