If the Final Agreement is accepted, Lheidli T’enneh members will continue to have the right to hunt and fish in our traditional areas. While we will not make the laws about conservation, we will have a say in those laws. The Final Agreement sets out the amount that we can fish each year. These amounts, and the amount we may hunt, could change if the salmon or the animals need to be protected for conservation reasons.
What does the Agreement say about catching fish for food and ceremonial purposes?
Under the Final Agreement, the Lheidli T’enneh will have the right to harvest fish and aquatic plants for food, social and ceremonial purposes. Our rights will be defined within a region called the Lheidli T’enneh Fish Area, which covers almost our entire traditional territory.
We will be entitled to take part of the total catch allowed for Upper Fraser sockeye salmon. How many salmon we can harvest will vary each year depending on how many salmon there are. The largest number of salmon we will be able to harvest for food, social and ceremonial purposes each year is 12,300.
Can we trade fish?
We will be able to trade or barter fish among ourselves and with other Aboriginal people.
Will we be allowed to sell salmon commercially?
A Harvest Agreement, separate from our Treaty, gives us licenses to harvest salmon to sell. This Agreement gives us a share of the wealth from the salmon harvest but this will not be a right protected by the Canadian Constitution. In this harvest, we will have to follow the laws of the general commercial fishery.
Can we reduce the salmon we catch for food and increase the salmon we sell?
If the federal government agrees, we can reduce the number of fish we catch for food, social and ceremonial purposes by up to fifty percent and have a matching increase in the number we can sell. If we do that, and there is no commercial fishery in any given season, we could lose our right to those fish for that season.
Who is in charge of conservation?
The Lheidli T’enneh will have the right to make our own rules to manage our fishery, including who can take part, and how the harvest will be shared. The governments of Canada and British Columbia will keep the right to manage and conserve fish, aquatic plants and fish habitat. The Lheidli T’enneh will take part in the decisions, however, through membership on a joint committee that will plan fishing activities while considering environmental protection. This committee will make recommendations to the governments involved.
How will our Treaty fishery work?
The Lheidli T’enneh will prepare a plan every year for our fish harvest and the joint committee will review it and send the plan with recommendations to the other governments.
How will we afford the cost of managing our fishery?
Under the Final Agreement, the Government of Canada will give the Lheidli T’enneh a one-time contribution of $3 million to set up a Lheidli T’enneh Fisheries Fund. The Fund will be used to support fisheries management programs and activities. Another $275,000 will be provided to purchase equipment to help us monitor fish stocks in our region. Lheidli T'enneh will also receive ongoing annual funding like it does now.
Will rules need to be followed?
Our rights will be limited by the need for conservation and by rules to protect people. We may develop our own laws as well. We will also have to follow rules about the use and possession of firearms.
Will I need a license?
It will be up to the Lheidli T’enneh government whether a license will be needed to hunt.
Who is in charge of conservation?
The Agreement allows for rules to be set regarding animals that need protection. For these animals, the Lheidli T’enneh will negotiate, with the Government of British Columbia, the number of animals we are allowed to harvest. Together we will develop a wildlife harvest plan that will set out the rules. Grizzly bears and mountain caribou are the only species that would require a wildlife harvest plan at this time.
When can we hunt?
Unless the Lheidli T’enneh makes a law that states otherwise, Lheidli T’enneh hunters may harvest wildlife throughout the year.
Will we be able to sell our harvest?
The Final Agreement gives us rights to trade and barter our harvest among ourselves and with other Aboriginal people in British Columbia. It does not include the sale of the harvest. Such commercial activities would be possible under the same rules that apply to others, for example, trapping, and outfitting.