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Chinook salmon will disappear: ONA

by Contributed - Story: 53468
Mar 27, 2010 / 12:00 pm

A recent decision by the federal government to not place a local species of salmon on the endangered list could mean the species' extinction, says the Okanagan Nation Alliance.

The ONA says a decision made March 17 to not place the Okanagan Chinook Salmon on the government's Species At Risk Act list was made with little consultation with the ONA, which considers the species important.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans "based its recommendation to not list Okanagan Chinook on a socio-economic analysis that considers the interests of the commercial and recreational fishing sectors over the Okanagan Nation's constitutionally protected Aboriginal title and rights," says Chief Clarance Louis of the Osoyoos Indian Band.

"This put the very survival of this critically important salmon species at risk."

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, ONA chairperson, says the ONA began the process five years ago to have the species put on the protected list.

He says they estimate fewer than 50 spawning adults are left in the population.

A representative for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans was not immediately available for comment.

The rationale behind the decision was published in the Canada Gazette and states the decision was based on current conservation efforts that have reduced catch limits on Chinook by 15 to 30 per cent in different areas.

The Gazette states that the department spoke with a commercial fisherman who was concerned about the economic impacts of listing the species.

The report also states "The submission from an Aboriginal organization indicated that the recommendation to not list Okanagan Chinook is of serious concern to that organization...However the organization did not provide any further information to the specific nature of their concerns."

Chief Stewart, however, says the ONA hasn't received any kind of follow up from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and called into question the SARA's consultation practices.


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