Some First Nations leaders have ingeniously tied the fish farming discourse into treaty claims knowing that the politics of aboriginal rights are easier to manipulate than the realities of science.
By Fabian Dawson
Unable to provide any credible scientific evidence to back their claims that BC fish farms threaten the survival of wild salmon, a group of eco-militants are wrapping their activism in the cloak of indigenous rights.
And they want your money to do that so they can kill BC’s sustainable salmon farming industry that supports the livelihoods of some 6,600 people.
Claiming that they have an “unstoppable” legal strategy revolving around aboriginal title claims and rights, the activists have launched social media campaigns to raise funds. Their target is $45,000.
“Using a combination of legal tools – Aboriginal title and rights claims, injunctions, judicial reviews, and other legal challenges – the DFN (Dzawada’enux First Nations) are the best hope for removing fish farms from BC’s coastal waters,” states the fund raising website.
They have tried everything from protest flotillas to letter writing campaigns and illegal occupations of fish farms but all have failed because they can’t back their eco-hype with any credible science.
Now amidst record runs of sockeye salmon on the Fraser River, which again shows that salmon returns are cyclic and have nothing to do with fish farms, the small but loud group has hired a lawyer to further their agenda.
“It will cost some money, but once we get this thing moving, there will not be fish farms in DFN territory,” the lawyer is quoted as saying, setting the stage for a billing protocol with your coin.
These folks have been emboldened by the rush to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which requires governments to obtain free, prior and informed consent for resource development from the local Indigenous people.
And they want you to forget about the 40 First Nation and Indigenous communities who are now involved in farming seafood in Canada.
B.C. salmon farmers also work closely with coastal First Nations and have 20 social and economic agreements in place. About 78% of the B.C. harvest is from farms covered under First Nation Agreements.
The First Nations leaders behind the so called “unstoppable” legal challenges, are fueled by unsubstantiated science trotted out by foreign funded NGO’s.
They have ingeniously tied the fish farming discourse into treaty claims, which seems to be this group’s primary objective.
They know fully well that the politics of fear and aboriginal rights are easier to manipulate than the realities of science.
For those whose concern for wild salmon is genuine, manipulative and self-interested campaigns represent an abuse of public trust.
Donating to them, signing their petitions, attending their rallies only undermine the work of true professionals in conservation, enhancement, commercial fisheries and aquaculture.