Three First Nations “deeply offended” by misused letter of understanding

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The Broughton First Nations have condemned the misuse of a provincial letter of understanding to push the Canadian federal government to renew salmon farming licences before they expire in June.

The coastal-based Mamalilikulla First Nation, ‘Nagmis First Nation, and the Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation, collectively known as the Broughton First Nations, released a press release stating that they are “Deeply offended” by the actions of the Coalition of First Nations for Finfish Stewardship (FNFFS).

The pro-salmon industry FNFFS coalition have been pushing the Canadian federal government to renew salmon farm licences that are set to expire by the end of June 2022. 79 salmon farming licences are set to expire on June 30 and the federal government has not yet made a formal decision on their future, as it moves to phase out British Columbia salmon farms as part of a transition to open nt salmon farms on the west coast.

The Broughton First Nations claimed that the FNFFS coalition “spuriously” included a 2018 Letter of Understanding between the Province of British Columbia and the three coastal First Nations, as evidence of support for finfish aquaculture. The Broughton First Nations claim they only entered into that letter to address their lack of consent to the operation of open-net salmon farms.

“Including the Letter of Understanding between the Province of British Columbia and the Broughton First Nations, and the related agreements between the Broughton First Nations and industry licensees, as an example of support for the Coalition’s goals is entirely wrong,” the press release from the Broughton First Nations stated.

“Including that Letter of Understanding, and the related agreements with industry licensees, without any contact with our leadership is deeply disappointing, especially given the Coalition’s stated ambition of respecting First Nations’ decision-making authority,” the three First Nations added.

The Broughton First Nations claimed that they have opposed the presence of Atlantic salmon farms in their territories for decades, having “never consented to the operation of open net-pen feedlots in their territories.”

According to the press release, the Broughton First Nations will decided whether the seven farms in their territories will continue to operate within their region.