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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Chinook salmon. Undated file photo

Just Posted

Famous skateboard residence goes up for sale in Maple Ridge

Kyle Dion’s house on Stoney Avenue has a backyard feature few others can boast

Maple Ridge sprinter earns track scholarship to TWU

Alina Olson broke the MRSS record in the 100 m dash last season

Being Young: A strange little concept called hope

One generation consistently cries out to the others, ‘you have it easier than me.’

MRSS cheer team to compete against world’s best

The squad will represent Canada at the 2020 World School Cheerleading Championships in Orlando

Going Green: House, I’m looking at you

‘Change the place you live by changing how you get around.’

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

Surrey tells Uber to cease operations in city, but company ‘respectfully’ declines

Ridesharing company told to stop operating within the city by 9 p.m. Jan. 24

Coronavirus concerns cause cancellation of Langley Lunar New Year celebration

Close to 1,000 were expected to attend the annual Live In Langley event on Saturday

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Most Read