Anglers catch and release in the Skeena River, 2015. (file photo)

Cullen to fisheries minister: do your job

MP calls for new minister to visit northwest, see salmon crisis in person

There’s a crisis in the northwest and we need leadership, said Nathan Cullen last week. In a regular scrum with regional news media the Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP spared no criticism of how Jonathan Wilkinson has spent his first two months as Canada’s new Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

“We have a new fish minister in place that doesn’t seem able to return phone calls, and he has not yet agreed to come up to the Northwest and find out about what’s happened here,” Cullen said. “I just want him to do his job. That job is coming up to the Skeena, talking with people on the ground to hear the real deal, not from his officials in Ottawa that keep him in the dark and feed him a bunch of garbage.”

Jonathan Wilkinson

Part of Wilkinson’s mandate, issued Aug. 28, is to work with the B.C. government to secure a healthy future for Pacific salmon, with concrete deliverables by 2019, the International Year of the Salmon.

READ MORE: Salmon closures a devestating blow to businesses

“I want him to meet our people, hear our ideas and solutions to build up the stocks and renew this fishery,” Cullen said.

The MP said he is frustrated on a number of fronts in dealing with DFO on decisions being made around this year’s fishing closures, and hopes to see better communication involving all stakeholders in the sport, commercial and First Nations fisheries where tensions are rising and economies suffering.

“The DFO is just not talking. People have to understand the decisions that are being made—and those decisions need to be communicated properly.”

Ecstall River controversy

Cullen is also pushing DFO for a full investigation into what he called the Ecstall River controversy, an incident last month when the Komaham Lodge secured a fishing permit from the Lax Kwalaams band for the purpose of conducting scientific research with a group comprised of wealthy non-resident anglers.

READ MORE: Anglers furious over VIP fishing trip

“Somehow you can buy your way onto BC rivers if you’re a rich American? This causes me concerns. I just don’t know how this is even legal, never mind possible.”

Cullen said he’s held conversations with DFO and the Komaham Lodge, and was scheduled to speak with the facility’s owner, Bass Pro Shops, later in the day.

“From what they’ve told us so far, this was to do science, that these are wealthy people who want to donate to conservation work. It just has this fringe benefit of fishing on an exclusive and closed river.

“I’ve got to hear something a lot better than that, because resident anglers are pretty ticked off.”


 


quinn@terracestandard.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

Just Posted

Carving talent on display at ANBT

Clint Adams carves tradtional First Nations designs in copper, silver, gold and wood

Prince Rupert Rampage go the distance to knock off Hazelton

Sunday afternoon victory caps off contentious series; Terrace River Kings up next

New Aiyansh stun Hydaburg to claim first ever All Native Masters Division title

Buzzer beating three pointer by Rich Wolff caps wild comeback; Justin Adams chosen as MVP

Prince Rupert reigns once again at All Native Tournament

Cubs score first Intermediate banner for Prince Rupert since 2010

Skidegate Saints return to top of the Seniors Division with comeback effort against Metlakatla AK

Jesse Barnes wins MVP as Saints get revenge on Alaska side in All Native finale

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

BC Ferries sailings filling up Family Day Monday

More than 20 sailings added between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen for long weekend

Most Read