Saturday, July 02, 2011

Interesting article on DFO and fishing rights in Canada

Article: DFO & Fishing 'Rights'

Interesting article relating an exchange in the Cohen Commission proceedings between a DFO staff person and lawyers for the BC Driftfishers and BC Wildlife Federation.
In his testimony, Barry Huber, a senior Aboriginal Advisor with DFO, admitted that he "...believes non-native Canadians don't have a right to fish recreationally, but rather a privilege, and that he takes that attitude into negotiating rooms where he works with First Nations leaders."
The gist of the article from Christie Blatchford seems to be "...that the very fellow charged with negotiating new fishery deals with First Nations on behalf of all Canadians — on the "government-to-government" or "nation-to-nation" basis increasingly demanded by native leaders — is arguably prepared to give away the store because he doesn't believe non-natives have a leg to stand on."

The exchange outlined in Blatchford's article is a very interesting glimpse into DFO perspectives on fishery negotiations with First Nations. It also raises questions about whether this is official DFO Policy or whether this fellow is following his narrow interpretation of orders from above? Either way, the article reflects badly on DFO, who is shown to yet again be a poor manager of our fish resources and reinforces the call for a complete overhaul of this bureaucratic dinosaur.

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