First Nations Fisheries Memorandum of Understanding

Information about the MOU

The First Nations Fisheries Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Government of Canada and the First Nations Leadership Council is a way to maintain and build positive relations between First Nations in British Columbia and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The agreement outlines a collaborative relationship to engage in joint dialogue on matters related to fisheries and aquatic resources.

Signatories to the MOU, which was signed on September 24, 2013, are:

Under the MOU, the Minister commits to meeting with the Leadership Council twice annually. The MOU also confirms the Department's ongoing commitment to continue to meet with the Leadership Council's technical body, the First Nations Fisheries Council, on a quarterly basis.

FIRST NATIONS FISHERIES MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN
THE UNION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA INDIAN CHIEFS
AND
THE FIRST NATIONS SUMMIT
AND
THE BRITISH COLUMBIA ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS
(collectively referred to as the "FIRST NATIONS LEADERSHIP COUNCIL")
AND
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF CANADA AS REPRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OF FISHERIES AND OCEANS
(collectively referred to as the “Parties”)

Whereas:

  1. The First Nations Leadership Council has a mandate from First Nations in British Columbia to work together to improve the socioeconomic conditions of First Nations in British Columbia, and to advance recognition and reconciliation of pre-existing Aboriginal title, rights and treaty rights with the assertion of Crown sovereignty.
  2. The First Nations Fisheries Council has a mandate from the First Nations Leadership Council to work with, and on behalf of British Columbia First Nations to advance and protect Aboriginal title, rights and treaty rights related to fisheries and aquatic resources. The First Nations Fisheries Council provides technical support to First Nations and the First Nations Leadership Council on fisheries matters.
  3. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is responsible and has legislative authority for developing and implementing policies and programs in support of Canada's scientific, ecological, social, and economic interests in oceans and fresh waters.
  4. Existing Aboriginal and treaty rights are recognized and affirmed in section 35(1) of the "Constitution Act, 1982".
  5. The Parties share common goals of establishing a strengthened, long term relationship based on mutual respect and recognition and developing capacity of First Nations for efficient and effective fisheries management in British Columbia.
  6. The Parties recognize the fundamental importance of fisheries and fisheries resources to First Nations peoples in British Columbia and share common goals of maintaining healthy ecosystems and promoting sustainable use of fisheries resources.
  7. The Parties seek to establish a formal relationship to engage in dialogue on issues relating to fisheries and aquatic resources.
  8. The Parties seek to work constructively together to achieve concrete outcomes that are mutually beneficial, and that support the aspirations of First Nations in British Columbia.
  9. It is recognized that there are existing political accords, strategies and reports, such as the "BC First Nations Fisheries Action Plan: Preparing for Transformative Change in the BC Fishery" (2007) and the "Commitment to Action and Results" (2010) that will assist the Parties in their work under this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

1.0 Purpose:

1.1 The purpose of this MOU is to:

a. Establish and define a collaborative and constructive relationship to achieve concrete outcomes that are mutually beneficial to all Parties, and support the aspirations of First Nations in British Columbia, through establishing a joint dialogue process regarding general and specific issues relating to fisheries and aquatic resources in British Columbia.

2.0 Implementation

2.1 The Parties agree to hold meetings involving political representative(s), and officials where appropriate, of each Party at least two (2) times annually to:

  1. identify priority issues and establish a mutual agenda;
  2. discuss the effective implementation of relevant court decisions;
  3. determine and direct follow-up work to be jointly undertaken regarding the priority issues and to advance the mutual agenda; and
  4. discuss any other issues related to the implementation of this MOU.

2.2 The pre-existing Joint Executive Committee and Joint Steering Committee (“the Joint Committees”) established by the First Nations Fisheries Council and Fisheries and Oceans Canada will serve as a technical table to carry out the direction under Clause 2.1.

2.3 In addition to the two meetings identified under Clause 2.1, the Joint Committees will each meet at least four (4) times per year (for a total of eight (8) meetings) and will establish a meeting schedule. Meetings may also be convened as needed, or at the mutual agreement of the Parties.

3.0 Term and Review

3.1 This MOU shall take effect from the date that this is signed by the Parties.

3.2 This MOU and activities associated with it will be reviewed annually by the Parties.

3.3 This MOU may be amended at any time by agreement in writing between all of the Parties.

3.4 A Party may withdraw from this MOU by providing ninety (90) days’ notice in writing to the other Parties.

3.5 This agreement has a term of 3 years and can be renewed by agreement in writing between all of the Parties.

4.0 General

4.1 The Parties agree that this MOU:

  1. does not and is not intended to be legally binding or to create legally enforceable rights or obligations between the Parties;
  2. does not and is not intended to displace, any legal duty that the Crown may have to consult directly with First Nations;
  3. does not and is not intended to, define or extinguish any Aboriginal or treaty rights and is not evidence of the nature or extent of any Aboriginal or treaty rights;
  4. is made without prejudice to the positions taken by any Party with respect to Aboriginal or treaty rights;
  5. shall not be interpreted in a manner that implies endorsement or acceptance of federal legislation or policies by First Nations; and
  6. is not a land claims agreement or treaty within the meaning of section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

In witness whereof the parties have executed this Memorandum of Understanding this 24th day of September 2013.