Letters to Editor

Sport fishing is on the brink of extinction.


PHOTO ABOVE – Unlimited harvesting of all species of fish by aboriginals is now the law.


I could not help myself the other day, when I read that Canadian judges said what they said, and wrote what they wrote, to think that I worked a lifetime in Canada, I did so loving my country, my province, my hometown and did it all because my number one reason for living here was fishing for salmon, steelhead, and lake fishing. Without fishing I might as will live in an old folks home in the middle of the Sahara desert, at least it does not go to -40 in the winter.


Any logical person out there, would admit that without rules, without regulations, we will have about as many wild fish in British Columbia as they do in third world nations. In fact without rules, we might as well fill our freezers with the last salmon and steelhead Canada will ever be able to say are our fish. And if this idea of these judges spreads to other resources, then who will fund our children? If our government no longer has any authority over our resources, why are we even funding them, or even electing them, they will in fact be redundant.


How can you manage salmon and steelhead, if you cannot manage the people taking them?


It does not get any more stupid than this, my apologies to the Honourable Mr. Justice Groberman, the Honourable Madam Justice Fenlon, the Honourable Madam Justice Fisher, as a simple serf in your kingdom, you just put the last nail in the coffin of conservation.


“A B.C. appeal court overturned a limit on commercial fishing imposed on Indigenous fishers by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in a ruling released Monday.”


Salmon left to rot, were taken from an abandoned aboriginal fish net. (photo from 2018)

“The B.C. Court of Appeal recognized not only the Indigenous right to fish with no limits no matter the species, but that First Nations have a priority to do so.”



So, for all intensive purposes the aboriginals can catch all the fish, sell them all to China, and leave nothing for Canadians, an extreme comment and its doubtful they will, but the judges just made that possible.


OK, I am not a lawyer, I will admit that I am no expert in either constitutional law, or that I am am expert if breaking down the judgment accurately in layman terms, but I do understand that when one group of humans based on DNA is exempt from the rules intended to protect our resources, then in fact any effort for all those of the wrong DNA to support conservation efforts are wasted efforts.


Conservation on all west coast fish, for all intensive purposes, has come to a grinding halt. There are no legal limits or quotas for aboriginals. The Canadian Goverment just lost its right to protect fish on the West Coast of Canada.


This B.C. appeal court decision will have severe ramifications for all aboriginals living inland and or upstream, as the law now allows all the salmon and steelhead to be caught before they ever enter our rivers. It makes every hatchery on our rivers redundant, with ZERO restrictions on commercial fishing, there is no requirement to leave fish for conservation and or future stocks. This verdict is a wipe out all fish stocks decision, that allows all aboriginals to help themselves without any rules or regulations period.


This decision opens the doors to one First Nation fighting the other over who can take what, and sell it to whomever they wish. Coastal aboriginals will have first crack at taking as much as they wish, leaving it for the upstream chain to determine if they wish to conserve or wipe out the remaining fish. I wonder how may sockeye will return to the hatcheries on Babine Lake, and or if there is any point in further funding of the hatchery?


Read this article B.C. court overturns limits on Indigenous commercial fishery


I have always respected the rule of law, I have always respected the need for rules and regulations, and they this happens. So just what is an appropriate response that would effectively solve this court created crisis?


Suggesting reading Truth and Consequences……..Or Not  written by Bob Hooton who holds a a Master of Fisheries Science degree from the University of Idaho, a senior fisheries biologist and a former Fish and Wildlife supervisor, and now runs a blog called Skeena Voices.


Somehow our courts also overlooked Canada’s obligation to its fishing partners on the west coast, primarily the USA, it will be interesting to see just how Canada will honour its responsibility to protect west coast fish, and honour agreements with the USA at the same time. In a nutshell, the USA will not stand by and let Canadian aboriginals wipe out their fishing resources.


As it stands at this moment, we have rules for all non aboriginals, and no rules at all for aboriginals, and a depletion of stocks that is nearing extinction of the species. Then the court tells Canada it must now negotiate a settlement with aboriginals, after giving them 100% right to take it all. Note I did not say they will take it all, I just said the B.C. Court of Appeal said the DFO has zero rights to control aboriginal fishing. Where does that leave us at the negotiating table?


I have a suggestion, in fact its the only suggestion that could end this checkmate that the B.C. Court of Appeal judges imposed on us. Hear me out, even a bad plan is better than no plan at all.


Remove all funding and shut down the DFO, close it entirely, but before closing it, remove all rules and regulations to insure when we go to the negotiating table with First Nations we are on equal footing. ZERO rules and regulations would allow all sides of the debate to watch as we permanently destroy the resource, and or agree we are all going to reopen the DFO and everyone fishing will follow the rules established by all on all of us.


The Goverment of Canada has never had a mandate to protect one ethic group at the expense of all the others.


Now before I go any further I want you to think about this.


The yearly salaries of the judges of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia and of the Supreme Court of British Columbia are as follows:

  • (a) the Chief Justice of British Columbia, $344,400;

  • (b) the 12 Justices of Appeal, $314,100 each;

  • (c) the Chief Justice and the Associate Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, $344,400 each; and

  • (d) the 81 other judges of the Supreme Court, $314,100 each.

While I fully support the law, I do have to ask you all, do you think we are getting our moneys worth? Should we be paying this much money, in order to get judgments like the one we have now on the aboriginal right to fish? Listen up, I just asked the question, I did not give my opinion on their income, but it is high time we as a society put limits of just how much politicians and government officials are paid, after all its not supposed to be a myth that they are serving us.


One thing is certain, be it federal, provincial, or our legal system, they are all geared to push for a full blown fight between aboriginals and the rest of us. They preach peace love and reconciliation, but their actions create race hate and inequality. Let me remind you again, to look how much they get paid to do this to us. Look at Nathan Cullen and what he has cost us, and now add the costs of Taylor Bachrach and look at what they have done for the 95% of their constituents who are not aboriginal.


The silence from both of them on this ruling is deafening, but they sure can hoot it up on other topics.

3 thoughts on “Sport fishing is on the brink of extinction.

  • Dr Wlliam Knight

    Seeing BC fail to protect its renewable fisheries causing me great pain. As a life long Oregonian, I saw our once great fishery be destroyed by logging, poor management and over harvesting. Loved to come to Smither to catch and release wild steelhead on a barbless fly. Great harm (financial and moral)

  • Jeanine Eriksen

    Why is the DFO still in existence? They do nothing and have been given no power by the government to enforce fishing laws. Might as well give all authority to FN and pack up the recreational fishing sector as there wont be any salmon to fish for in another decade


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