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Author Topic: Capilano Chrome
Kai the Guy

Anglers protest native fish weirs (June 11, 2004, BCFN site)

North Shore News
A group of sports fishermen gathered on the banks of the Capilano River Tuesday to protest what they described as an "illegal" coho fishery by members of the Squamish Nation who were using shopping carts as fish weirs in the river.

But fisheries officers for both the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Squamish said band members have an aboriginal right to fish in the river. The only thing that's illegal about the fishing has been the use of stolen shopping carts as fish weirs by some younger band members, they said. Those people have been told to take the shopping carts out, they added.

Sports fisherman Tomas Plattig, who has been angling on the Capilano for 25 years, said he became concerned this week after noticing the shopping carts in the river. Plattig said his main worry was the carts were blocking off the river and weren't allowing enough salmon through to spawn. Answers from the Squamish Nation and the federal fisheries department didn't ease his fears, he said.

On Tuesday, Plattig organized a protest by about half a dozen sports fishermen on the banks of the Capilano, just upstream from the bridge that crosses Marine Drive. "Tempers are flaring right now," he said.

Scott Baker-McGarva, another sports fisherman who is also the co-owner of the Anglers West Fly and Tackle shop, said he accepts the aboriginal right to fish the river, but conservation of the fish is his main concern. Baker-McGarva said authorities have been turning a blind eye to the shopping carts being dumped in the river.

"In the past, they completely blocked the flow of the river," he said. "Nobody wants to tackle this issue."

Baker-McGarva said if he threw a shopping cart into the river to catch fish, "I'd be locked up and thrown in jail. . . . It's an unequal application of the law."

But Ian Mann, supervisor for the Lower Mainland and Squamish detachment of Fisheries and Oceans, said the fishermen's complaints are only partially true.

"There's no jurisdiction in the Fisheries Act for using shopping carts" as weirs, he said. "It shouldn't be in the river."

Mann said he discussed the problem with Squamish fisheries officials this week and "everybody is aware of the situation."

But Mann said the Squamish are entitled to build weirs in the river and there's no evidence those weirs are blocking the river.

Mann said Capilano hatchery staff have assured him weirs aren't causing any conservation problems. "Conservation is not currently an issue. There are sufficient opportunities for fish to move upstream," he said. If water levels in the river drop, the weirs will be dismantled, he added.

Mann said the Squamish have an aboriginal right to fish in the entire river for food and ceremonial purposes using traditional methods.

The current weirs are about 50 feet (15.2 metres) upstream from the Squamish reserve lands, but "they are still within the Squamish band's traditional fishing areas," he said. "Complaints are based on a lack of knowledge of history."

Mann said the weirs will likely be in the river throughout the summer.

Randall Lewis, environmental co-ordinator for the Squamish Nation, said it's unfortunate some "vigilante sports fishermen" are using the actions of a few irresponsible youth to taint the entire band.

"We don't condone shopping carts in the river as a traditional technology," he said.

But he added, "there's certain rights and titles that the Squamish Nation holds. We're not there to be wiping our resource out."

Lewis said the complaints amounted to "kicking Indians around again.

"They put a dam on the river and build homes right on the shoreline and they point the finger at us?" he said. "It gets exasperating."

It certainly does.

Aww, I was acualy hoping to see a pic of a nice chrome from the cap

You better keep any real chrome pictures you can get because with b.s. like this still going on pictures of coho will be all we have in a few years...what a joke...

SOME natives are so stupid, its ridiculous,, they abuse there privelidges... j/w,,, will this ever change?? or do we have to get used to this because they are "NATIVES"
Kai the Guy

Don't blame the Natives, the real problem is the DFO and the Federal government.

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