Fisheries Resources Reconciliation Agreement means increased say in management of oceans

The historic Fisheries Resource Reconciliation Agreement will provide funding for access to commercial fishing opportunities for the eight Coastal First Nations member communities.

The recently announced signing of the amended Coastal First Nations Fisheries Resources Reconciliation Agreement (FRRA) includes a regional planning component over our community-based fisheries, says CFN Executive Director Christine Smith-Martin: “This historic model will provide jobs in the home communities of participating Haida, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xai’xais, Metlakatla, Nuxalk, Wuikinuxv, Gitga’at and Gitxaala Nations.”

Coastal First Nations president Chief Marilyn Slett added that through this agreement, our people will have a significant say in the management of the oceans and at the same time have the ability to once again participate in the maritime economy: “With this new arrangement and cooperative approach we expect to work together with the Federal Government to advance our common goal of caring for the ocean.”

The FRRA is the first of its kind in BC to establish a collaborative fisheries management process by First Nations in the BC North and Central Coast, and Haida Gwaii and Canada. The governance model between DFO and the CFN member nations includes a collaborative engagement process with a wide range of stakeholders in British Columbia and consultation with other First Nations.

This agreement sets out the next steps to be taken in planning for commercial community-based fisheries encouraging a greater flexibility in community participation and greater access to fishing licenses and quota. It also includes support for the CFN member Nations to make investments in gear, vessels, licences, operations and infrastructure.