Blueberry River First Nations Chief Judy Desjarlais says her community had no involvement with the province’s proposal to cut the number of moose that can be harvested in Northeast B.C.
“We have no agreement in regards to that decision by the province, what they’ve decided to do, regarding the funding,” said Desjarlais. “That was their own action, it had nothing to do with Blueberry, because we have not reached any agreement with the province, especially with the wildlife impact pertaining to the treaty rights litigation.”
She added that the nation remains at the negotiating table, following their legal victory last summer in winning a cumulative impacts claim against the province.
“We’re working with the province to make it clear that Blueberry had no hand in their decision when it comes to reducing the number of moose hunted,” Desjarlais said.
Under the new terms, caribou hunts would be closed permanently in the Peace Region, while the number of killable number of moose would be slashed to 50%, in addition to cutting the number of hunting licenses available to 50%.
Moose hunting would also be closed from Aug. 15 to 31, and Oct. 1 to 15 in the Peace.
According to a regulation release earlier this month by the province, the hunting changes are expected to be an interim measure and one part of a broader package of actions specific to improving wildlife stewardship, upholding Treaty rights, habitat conservation, and the future of resource management.
“These proposed hunting regulations are aimed at addressing the ability of Treaty 8 First Nations to continue their way of life and begin to address the impacts of industrial development of the rights guaranteed in this Treaty as confirmed in the Supreme Court of BC decision Yahey vs. BC,” reads the release.
Desjarlais said she’s unable to comment on what Blueberry wants to see for moose and caribou management as they remain at the negotiating table with the province.
“We’re still at the table, but first and foremost we would like our Treaty rights protected. As you know from past posts, Treaty rights have been breached when it comes to impacts by development,” said Desjarlais. “The result of that is that is there was a threat to our way of life, which is hunting, fishing, and trapping.”
Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative. Email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org