Time for Minister, Pacific Salmon Commission to step up, Cullen says

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JULY 22, 2013

SKIDEGATE, B.C. – Following revelations that Alaskan fishers are still fishing Skeena-bound sockeye salmon, even though the Department of Fisheries and Oceans had closed the fishery, Nathan Cullen has written to the Pacific Salmon Commission Chair Susan Farlinger, as well as Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

“The Skeena sockeye run is at a fifty-year record low, and Fisheries and Oceans has closed the fishery for British Columbians, but Alaskan fishers are still at liberty to fish under the Canada-US Pacific Salmon Treaty,” said Cullen from Skidegate.

In letters to Farlinger and Shea, Cullen emphasized the need for conservation efforts to match each other at the border. “International state boundaries are meaningless to fish,” Cullen said. “It is simply unfair that Canadian fishers should have to shoulder all of the responsibility to act as conservationists, while American fishers keep their nets in the water.”

Cullen emphasized the need for the Pacific Salmon Commission to even the playing field for Canadian and Alaskan fishers, as well as the need for the federal government to step up to the plate. “The Minister knows that this will have a devastating impact on the fishery up here, and she certainly knows that compensation starts to become a reality when the government doesn’t manage the fisheries responsibly, as it did on the east coast.

“The Skeena sockeye salmon fishery is too important to us, economically and culturally, to let it be devastated in this way. The Minister needs to get up here and get to work before it’s too late.”

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Contact: Hugh Pouliot (613) 993-8662 nathan.cullen.a1@parl.gc.ca