April 20, 2021
(Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh)/Vancouver, BC) The First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) are applauding five Nuu-chah-nulth Nations (the Ehattesaht, Hesquiaht, Mowachaht/Muchalaht, Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht) for their efforts leading to the April 19th BC Court of Appeal (BCCA) decision (Ahousaht v Canada, 2021 BCCA 155).
The BCCA made an important ruling, reaffirming that the Nuu-chah-nulth Nations’ commercial multi-species fishing right is an evolving right to sustainable viable priority commercial fisheries in their territories. The Court rejected arguments that the Nations’ rights have a lower priority in relation to some species, finding that “Aboriginal rights are constitutionally protected, and must be taken seriously. First Nations have a prima facie entitlement to have their rights take priority over rights that are not constitutionally protected.” [Para 251]