BRFN speaks out against proposed hunting closures

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By Tom Summer

Local Journalism Initiative

Blueberry River First Nations Chief Judy Desjarlais says her community did not participate in the province’s proposal to reduce the number of moose that can be harvested in northeast British Columbia.

“We don’t have an agreement on this decision by the province, what they decided to do, on funding,” Desjarlais said. “It was their own action, it had nothing to do with Blueberry, as we did not reach any agreement with the province, especially with the impact on wildlife related to the treaty rights litigation.”

She added that the nation remains at the negotiating table, following its court victory last summer in a cumulative impacts claim against the province.

“We are working with the province to make it clear that Blueberry had no influence on their decision when it comes to reducing the number of moose hunted,” Desjarlais said.

Under the new conditions, caribou hunting would be permanently closed in the Peace region, while the number of killable moose would be reduced to 50%, in addition to reducing the number of hunting licenses available to 50%.

Moose hunting would also be closed August 15-31 and October 1-15 in La Paix.

According to a regulation released earlier this month by the province, the hunting modifications should be an interim measure and part of a larger package of specific measures to improve wildlife stewardship, respect treaty rights, habitat conservation and the future of resource management. .

“These proposed hunting regulations are intended to improve the ability of Treaty 8 First Nations to pursue their way of life and begin to deal with the impacts of industrial development of the rights guaranteed in this Treaty, as confirmed by the decision of the Supreme Court of British Columbia Yahey v. BC,” the statement read.

Desjarlais said she was unable to comment on what Blueberry wanted to see for moose and caribou management because they remain at the negotiating table with the province.

“We are still at the table, but above all we would like our treaty rights to be protected. As you know in the past, treaty rights have been violated with respect to development impacts,” Desjarlais said. “The result of that was that there was a threat to our way of life, which is hunting, fishing and trapping.”

By Tom Summer is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works for ALASKA HIGHWAY NEWS. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Turtle Island News does not receive funding from the LJI government.

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