First Nations Impacts

Photo: Beltra/Greenpeace

For the past 10,000 years coastal First Nations of BC have relied on the sea to provide for their people. Supported by the plentiful marine resources, First Nations communities developed vibrant cultures rich in song, dance and art works that are acclaimed worldwide.

Abundant runs of wild salmon, together with the harvest of other seafood, fed entire villages. Rockfish, abalone, clams, cockles, eulachon and other marine species were staple food items.

Critical food supplies could be in jeopardy if the impacts of open net-cage salmon farms are not effectively addressed soon.

The majority of First Nations in BC have made it clear they don’t want fish farms in their traditional territories. They support an end to expansion of the industry into new regions and in regions where farms already exist and many support a transition to closed containment systems that will control pollution, and threats to marine resources. But above all, First Nations opposed to the industry want the farms out their territories – now.

Their main concern is the protection of wild salmon. The salmon farming industry puts at risk traditional food fishery resources and salmon farming also puts at risk protection of Aboriginal rights to fishery resources as recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada. If wild salmon stocks decline as a result of the impacts from salmon farms, there will be little left to harvest and a critically important Aboriginal right to resources in traditional territories will be effectively eradicated.

Traditional Way of Life

Many First Nations believe the preservation of traditional ways of life means ensuring the promotion of community long-term sustainable economic development, and the protection of:

  • wild salmon;
  • traditional food such as rockfish, groundfish, shellfish, shrimp, crabs, eulachon, sea cucumbers, herring & spawn; and
  • a healthy marine environment.

Learn about how the open net-cage salmon farms are threatening the supply of traditional foods for First Nations.