FISHERIES HAVE REACHED A CRITICAL JUNCTURE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA, particularly with regard to First Nations and their legal rights to fisheries resources. Dramatic changes took place in
the management and allocation of B.C. fisheries over little more than a century – from well-adapted, exclusive First Nation fisheries, to highly developed fisheries with an array of users. There are major uncertainties for aboriginal and non-aboriginal fishers in the fishery today. These include a B.C.
treaty process that promises increased access to First Nations in fisheries. While several Agreements-in- Principle are in place, the process has been slow to deliver benefits to most First Nations. At the same time, although many B.C. fisheries are healthy, the economic viability and sustainability of others is in question. The B.C. salmon fishery, for example, is not providing a reasonable living to most fishers.
This report lays out solutions and recommendations aimed at bringing a high degree of certainty
to aboriginal and non-aboriginal interests alike while ensuring the conservation of fisheries resources. Following is a brief description of each section of the report.