Commercial, recreational, and Indigenous fishers are making waves with an innovative collaboration that will bring all three sectors together to prevent further decline of salmon and non-salmon fish stocks in the Fraser River.
The new Lower Fraser Collaborative Table includes members from 23 First Nations, regional and provincial recreational fishing groups, and commercial representatives from the Area E Harvest Commercial.
Members ratified the official Terms of Reference today.
The Collaborative Table hopes to chart a new path to reconciliation for fishing groups on the lower Fraser River, with plans to promote collaboration and civil dialogue that builds trust amongst all parties and all who have an interest in sustaining lower Fraser River fish, fisheries and habitat. Conservation, sustainable access for harvesting, and improved information sharing will be top priorities.
Les Antone, Kwantlen First Nation Delegate affiliated with the Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance and a founding member of the Collaborative Table, says that First Nation and Sector collaboration is critical to the rehabilitation of Fraser salmon and non-salmon species. “Our people all remember the good old days when there were abundant salmon, sturgeon and steelhead, but today they are in a major crisis. We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time – and good management means we all have to make sacrifices together.”
Rob Chipman, Chair of the BCWF Indigenous Relations Committee, is pleased and honoured to participate in the Lower Fraser Collaborative Table. He says, “collaboration between First Nations, the commercial sector and non-Indigenous anglers is critical to salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and other fish species preservation and enhancement.” He notes that long-term sustainable conservation, access and harvest matter to all of us. “It just makes sense that we develop a collaborative group that can bring many together to speak with a united voice.”
Darrel McEachern, a life-long commercial fisherman, says, “I am optimistic and enthused by the formation of the LFCT and honoured to represent the Fraser River Commercial Fishermen. The issues confronting us today are beyond our governments’ ability to successfully deal with alone, and the LFCT has a very important role to play in the future.”
Lower Fraser Collaborative Table (LFCT) Members
First Nations members
Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance (23 First Nations)
Sports Fish Advisory Board (SFAB)
B.C. Wildlife Federation (BCWF)
B.C. Federation of Drift Fishers (BCFDF)
Fraser Valley Angling Guides Association (FVAGA)
Fraser River Sport Fishing Alliance (FRSA)
Fraser Valley Salmon Society (FVSS)