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Subject: Fw: Douglas Case

First and foremost I have confirmed that the Supreme Court of Canada has rejected the request for appeal by the Cheam Band members in the Douglas case. This is a major victory for all non native fishermen as it creates case law with the Court of Appeal for B.C. judgment that will now stand. Some of you may have forgotten what this case is about and I have attached a copy of the release from the SCC that gives some background. However for us, the key is that the court has now upheld that the managers can have fisheries for other Canadians while they have the First Nations FSC closed.

You will recall the members of the Cheam Band were charged and convicted for fishing for Early Stuart Sockeye during a closed time in 2000. They put forward the claim that as the recreational fishery for Chinook was open at this time they had full rights to fish. Simply put, if any recreational fishery is open anywhere these people claimed they could fish as they wished as well. In addition no one else should be allowed to fish until they had their quota. A difficult feat in that the Cheam Band has refused to set or agree to any harvest numbers. The law now stands that the natives do not have Absolute Priority and that managers can allow fisheries by others while the Native FSC fishery is closed.

Special thanks is due to our legal counsel Keith Lowes who did a great job in putting our case forward in this instance. His points were accepted almost in total by the Appeal Court for B.C.

Bill Otway, President

Sportfishing Defence Alliance.

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I am a little unclear about the content of this forward. As I understand it, federal law has always held that First Nations have priority access to salmon on the West Coast. Because this is black-letter law, I don't think it is something that can be overturned by a provincial court of appeal. The phrase
'absolute priority' is what's confusing me. I think that FN do have absolute priority over any given species, such that if there is any harvest of a particular species, FN get the first crack.

Does the ruling only conclude that, if there is an opening for some species, then FN do not necessarily have the right to fish for all species? That is still a significant ruling I guess, but I don't think it really changes much.

Anyway, I am not breathing any great sigh of relief over this. The way JJ's post is framed, it only drives one more wedge between two of the most dedicated advocates for wild salmon and watershed conservation. FN could be our greatest allys, so be careful what you wish for.

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FN could be our greatest allys, so be careful what you wish for.
I would have thought so to, but obviously Ambler you are not up on your facts.
The FN have repeatedly gone after sportsfisherman in the Fraser Valley, looking to shut down our opportunities while maintaining their own. Many meetings have taken place with FN(between anglers and FN) and while we are busy in a meeting with one group another is trying(through media, politics and law) to have us OFF the water.
I am not anti FN and realize full well who takes the most fish, but FN are the ones who need to align themselves with anglers, instead of fighting to have us OFF the water they should be working to have both of us ON the water, using conservation as the guiding light.

A number of key court rulings have taken place recently, this one allows DFO to close fishing for ALL Canadians, or should I say humans (because this would be non racist towards all residents of this land), and place prioity on conservation, over any harvest of fish, food or commercial(which seems to be blurring in many cases).

Now with this being said, this puts the onus on sports anglers to fish "selectively", if we cannot do this then IMO we should also be off the water. It would be very hypocritical of anglers to cheer this decision and then be out bottom bouncing during early Sockeye returns. Time for anglers to "man up" and do something for the fish.
Put away the betties, get out the "selective" gear and actually become the stewards we claim to be. If a fishery like the early Chinook this year is closed for conservation, then we as anglers should spend our time working with FN to have any and all Ocean interceptions closed ASAP, how can it be any other way. You cannot protect fish only in rivers, this fallacy has gone on far too long. I am not just reffering to Commercial fishing either, the many ocean fisheries and "commercial MEAT lodges" are very much a part of the problem. This is actually where I side with FN, they take far too much heat for their impacts while others are "out of sight, out of mind" and continue to pound away at Salmon stocks.
While I like some of the work done by Bill and the SDA, I absolutely cringe, holding hands with commercial fishing.
The fish are in the state they are because of "commercial fishing" both targeted and incidental(which frankly is Fu#$^%N horrible). It has been this way since the canneries lined the banks of the Fraser and Columbia and nothing has changed.
If you look up the history of commercial fishing along the coast of the Pacific Northwest, you will realize how little impact the FN have made to the demise of Salmon, a convenient scapegoat in most cases.
In recent times that impact has changed and certainly it has become a factor and hopefully this willbe kept in check.

Rulings like these are good for fish.

Hopefully The CCA is coming to BC, it has swept through the USA, taking down net fisheries in its path and recently begun to flourish in Washington and Oregon. This could very well be the future saviour of the salmon.
Its clear that anglers must unite with any allies we can to protect the salmon, FN should be one of those, but it is a 2 way street.

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Well put Rod :thumbup: I couldn't agree with you more. What good focusing is protecting stocks while the real damage out in the ocean continues, though I agree every little bit does help. ::)
Partnering up with the F/N would be definately in our favor though I agree not until they are all aboard. Just as on our side a few spoil it for the rest and continue to keep trying to stir the pot for their personal intrests instead of for the big picture. As far as a court victory, only temporary,the lawyers involved will make sure of that there's too much money to be made from cases like this.
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