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

 

Chief Ernie Crey. File photo

Just Posted

VIDEO: Giants head into holidays with a win at home in Langley

G-Men don’t play next until Dec. 28, after 2-1 victory over Prince George Sunday.

VIDEO: Giants fall to Royals 4-2 in Victoria Saturday night

Second loss in as many days for G-Men, who are back home in Langley today to take on the Cougars.

Langley Gators take Tsumura provincial basketball championships

Walnut Grove outscored their foes by 30 points per game

Spreading Christmas cheer around Aldergrove

Easing the pains and difficulties of hard times is ‘reason for the season’

VIDEO: why the founder of Kimz Angels feels it’s “sad” the charitable group has grown

Will be accepting donations all day Sunday at the IGA in Murrayville

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Canucks score 3 power-play goals in 4-2 win over Oilers

Vancouver sniper Boeser has 6 goals in last 5 games

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Most Read