Aboriginal fisheries and treaties
Aboriginal fisheries are an integral part of fisheries resource management in the Pacific Region. Through consultation, cooperative management and stewardship activities, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) regional staff and Aboriginal groups are working together to build strong, healthy relationships and sustainable fisheries. Economic and capacity building opportunities are providing Aboriginal groups with tools that contribute to building healthy and sustainable Aboriginal communities.
DFO Pacific Region administers the following Aboriginal programs:
- Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management (AAROM) Program;
- Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy (AFS);
- Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR);
- Allocation Transfer Program (ATP); and
- Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (PICFI).
Access to fish for food, social and ceremonial (FSC) purposes is provided through communal fishing licences.
British Columbia is unique among the territories and provinces of Canada in that it has a large number of First Nations without treaties. Therefore, a specific process was developed following the recommendations of the BC Claims Task Force in 1991. The British Columbia Treaty Commission (BCTC) facilitates the six-stage treaty negotiation process. DFO participates in treaty negotiations, which are led by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
Treaties will provide definition around the relationship between DFO and Aboriginal groups and provide greater certainty to all users of the fisheries resource.
In the Yukon Territory, the Umbrella Final Agreement (UFA) between the Government of Canada, the Council for Yukon Indians and the Government of the Yukon has been in effect since May 29, 1993. The UFA was established as a framework agreement for the negotiation of Final Agreements with the Yukon's First Nations. Of the 14 Yukon First Nations three remain without modern day land claim agreements and three others have unsettled claims that reach into the northern part of British Columbia.
The Yukon Salmon Sub-Committee (YSSC) of the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board was established under the UFA as a public advisory body. The role of the YSSC is to make recommendations, in the public interest, to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans on matters related to salmon. The YSSC is comprised of Yukon First Nations, members of the Fish and Wildlife Management Board and members of the public.
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