Tuesday, March 8, 2016

What is a tsunami?

A tsunami is a series of ocean waves caused by a major (above Magnitude 7.5) earthquake, usually at sea. Shock waves from the quake radiate in all directions along the seabed, and they can travel thousands of kilometres at the speed of a jet airliner.

Read about it here: http://www.hashilthsa.com/news/2016-04-14/what-tsunami

Major earthquake and tsunami response exercise scheduled for June
“So, the bad news is, we’re going to be hit with a major earthquake and tsunami. The good news is, we know when, and it’s June 7th through the 10th.”
The exercise will be the first-time deployment of the Provincial Coordination Team, which can be activated to support local authorities in an emergency.

Read about it here: http://www.hashilthsa.com/news/2016-03-03/major-earthquake-and-tsunami-response-exercise-scheduled-june
Hupacasath builds “muscle memory” for emergency evacuation
“The ground begins to shake heavily for two to three minutes. Find a safe place to ‘Drop, Cover and Hold On’ in your home. “The Tsunami Siren Goes off and advises that a 20-metre high tsunami will reach the Alberni Inlet in 35 minutes.” Hupacasath reserve would be fully inundated by 12:40.
Now what?

Read about it here: http://www.hashilthsa.com/news/2016-03-07/hupacasath-builds-%E2%80%9Cmuscle-memory%E2%80%9D-emergency-evacuation

Tseshaht tsunami awareness day

In its best effort to be prepared for a Tsunami Emergency, Tseshaht First Nation will be hosting a Tsunami Awareness Day at Tseshaht Market April 12, weather permitting. Tseshaht wants to prepare its members for a worst case scenario, like the tsunami that hit Japan’s shores March 11, 2011, in hopes that such an event never comes to pass, said Chief Councillor Hugh Braker.

Read about it here: http://www.hashilthsa.com/news/2016-03-11/japan-marks-fifth-year-tsunami...

Build a To-Go Bag

The goal of emergency preparedness in the event of an earthquake/tsunami is to provide each person in your family with enough food, water and medical supplies to survive for 72 hours without outside assistance. In remote communities, like Nuu-chah-nulth communities on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, many suggest you’ll need a full week’s worth of supplies.

Read about this here: http://www.hashilthsa.com/news/2016-04-06/building-emergency-kit



Friday, July 3, 2015

Responding to dry conditions, the Government of B.C. has  announced a Level 4 drought rating for Vancouver Island and the Gulf  Islands, and taken the additional action of suspending angling in  streams and rivers throughout southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf  Islands due to ongoing low stream flows and warming water temperatures.

At Level 4, conditions are extremely dry. Further declines in stream,  lake and aquifer levels could lead to water shortages and affect  people, industry such as agriculture, wildlife, and fish stocks. All water users are urged to maximize their water conservation efforts.

Effective July 4, 2015, virtually all angling in streams and rivers in Wildlife Management Units 1-1 through 1-6 is suspended. The closure has been put in place to protect fish stocks at a time when they are vulnerable due to low flows and high water temperatures. The geographic area covers Bamfield south to Victoria on the west coast, and Campbell River south to Victoria on the east coast. Key rivers affected by the order include the Caycuse, Chemainus, Cowichan, Englishman, Gordon, Little Qualicum, Nanaimo, Nitinat, Oyster, Puntledge, San Juan, Sooke, Trent and Tsable.

The Qualicum (known as "Big Qualicum") and Quinsam rivers are the only rivers or streams in the affected area exempt from the closure. On these two streams fishing can continue as normal. These streams have sufficient water refuges to adequately protect fish, even with normal angling pressure. 

The angling closure order is for southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands only at this time, but B.C. government fisheries biologists are monitoring approximately 75 other key angling streams across the province, and if conditions warrant, additional closures are possible.

Lake fishing is not affected by the order. Angling closures are enabled through the British Columbia Sport Fishing Regulations of the federal Fisheries Act.

Separately, the establishment of a Level 4 drought advisory, signals that regional water managers may take additional regulatory actions if they are deemed necessary. Any such actions will be site specific depending on individual stream conditions. Specific actions could include the temporary suspension of short-term water approvals or water licences in affected watersheds if necessary. Ministry water management staff will continue to monitor conditions, work closely with First Nations, local governments and key stakeholders, and provide updates as the need arises.

Although residential, agricultural and industrial users within municipalities and regional districts backed by reservoir storage are less vulnerable to water supply shortages than water users served by smaller water systems from streams, lakes and wells, all water users are encouraged to observe local water conservation bylaws to prolong water supplies and to maintain flows for fish and ecosystems.

Water users are also reminded to ensure that water intakes are screened to prevent fish from being pulled into water systems as water levels drop. Low water levels can impede the passage of salmon to spawning grounds, increase susceptibility to disease, or cause stranding or death due to low oxygen and high water temperatures.

Water conservation is everyone's responsibility. Many communities in B.C. are prepared to deal with water supply shortages and low streamflow conditions through drought management plans and water conservation programs that are already in place. In June 2015 the Province updated its 2010 Drought Response Plan.


Monday, May 4, 2015

The Port Alberni RCMP has made an arrest in relation to the repeated fraudulent use of Tseshaht Chief Hugh Braker’s name in a scam aimed at raising money for those suffering the aftermath of fictitious family tragedies. Robert Bennett Peters, 49, of no fixed address is facing two charges of Fraud for his role in soliciting funds over the phone using Chief Braker’s name.

Peters was apprehended in Nanaimo on Wednesday, April 27th in the vicinity of the location where victims were being directed to bring the illegally solicited funds.

The local officer leading the investigation personally disseminated surveillance photos to all businesses in the harbour front area in Nanaimo earlier this week, and when Peters showed up yesterday at one of the businesses, the proprietor recognized him and called the Nanaimo police who located and arrested Peters.

We are pleased with the outcome in this troubling matter, said Inspector Mac Richards of the Port Alberni RCMP. This individual was preying upon kind-hearted and generous citizens who were willing to help their fellow man deal with tragedy. It was morally and criminally reprehensible, he said.

Peters has been remanded into custody for his appearance on May 13th in Port Alberni.


Monday, March 23, 2015

An open letter to Jim Pattison, Chairman and CEO of the Jim Pattison Group:

The Heiltsuk Nation has prohibited a commercial seine and gillnet sac roe herring fishery for Area 7 on the Central Coast from taking place in 2015.

Our Nation has attempted to relay this message on multiple occasions, most recently at a meeting between Gladstone Reconciliation Society representatives and the Herring Industry Advisory Board on March 16th in Vancouver.  It appears that our efforts to protect the herring stocks have fallen on deaf ears again.

Herring stocks have not yet recovered enough from years of overharvesting to support a sac roe fishery.

A sac roe opening at this time has the potential to further decimate the rebuilding of the herring stocks and cause irreparable damage to our community.  We have relied on herring as a food source and form of currency for millennia, and depleted herring stocks affect our ability to exercise our aboriginal rights as defined in the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1996 Gladstone Decision.

The Heiltsuk Nation owns two gillnet licenses, but we will not be leasing them this year due to conservation concerns.  In a community with high unemployment such as ours, this decision was not taken lightly.  It is a sacrifice we must make now in order to safeguard for our future.

We appreciate the leadership and understanding of the situation that the United Fisherman and Allied Workers’ Union – Unifor has shown by its recommendation to its members not to select the Central Coast as an area to fish herring this year, as outlined in an open letter to the Council of the Haida Nation, the Heiltsuk Tribal Council and B.C. commercial herring fishermen dated January 20, 2015.

We request that you follow suit and give notice that your company will comply with the 2015 closure. By allowing herring stocks to recover now, we hope to all benefit from this precious resource again in the future.

We look forward to your response.



Marilyn  Slett

Chief Councillor, Heiltsuk Tribal Council 250-957-7721



William Gladstone Sr.

Chief  Negotiator,  Gladstone  Reconciliation  Office 250-957-7977




Sunday, March 8, 2015

From Don Hall, NTC Fisheries Program Manager:

Late last night DFO sent an email that at least two commercial seine vessels were headed to Nootka/Esperanza to look for herring to harvest.  (A fishery being planned for Barkley Sound this morning was cancelled due to poor quality fish.)

Ray Williams (Yuquot resident) phoned Roger Dunlop early this morning (Saturday).  Several commercial seine vessels came into Friendly Cove in the middle of the night.  Those are like the same vessels that were in Barkley Sound yesterday.

The email below from DFO states that DFO has designated two vessels (the Ocean Marauder and Prosperity) as “test vessels”.  DFO has authorized these vessels to do “test sets” to determine if any herring that they sound are suitable for commercial harvest.  Both vessels are supposed to have an independent at-sea observer on board.  If the vessels find suitable fish then DFO will have to authorize an opening with boundaries, times, etc. (like DFO did yesterday for Barkley Sound, but later cancelled).

Roger is in contact with representatives from MMFN, Nuchatlaht and Ehattesaht.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

From Don Hall, NTC Fisheries Program Manager:

Late last night DFO sent an email that at least two commercial seine vessels were headed to Nootka/Esperanza to look for herring to harvest.  (A fishery being planned for Barkley Sound this morning was cancelled due to poor quality fish.)

Ray Williams (Yuquot resident) phoned Roger Dunlop early this morning (Saturday).  Several commercial seine vessels came into Friendly Cove in the middle of the night.  Those are like the same vessels that were in Barkley Sound yesterday.

The email below from DFO states that DFO has designated two vessels (the Ocean Marauder and Prosperity) as “test vessels”.  DFO has authorized these vessels to do “test sets” to determine if any herring that they sound are suitable for commercial harvest.  Both vessels are supposed to have an independent at-sea observer on board.  If the vessels find suitable fish then DFO will have to authorize an opening with boundaries, times, etc. (like DFO did yesterday for Barkley Sound, but later cancelled).

Roger is in contact with representatives from MMFN, Nuchatlaht and Ehattesaht.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

January, 27, 2015 ‐Overnight on January 21, 2015, thieves made off with approximately two cubic metres of shake wood from the side of Harris Creek Road, around the 46 kilometre mark on the Bamfield Main Road.

The theft was discovered when Ben Bozak’s crew showed up for work on Thursday morning. The wood had been salvaged from Huu‐ay‐aht First Nations Treaty Settlement Land on Tuesday. Wednesday the crew began loading the wood and trucking it to the mill to be made into shake and shingles. Bozak is a contractor for Huu‐ay‐aht, who works with a crew that includes a number of Huu‐ay‐ahts.

The value of the salvaged wood, which amounted to about two‐thirds of a cord, was estimated to be $800. The culprits also made off with two security cameras that monitored the site. These cameras were worth approximately $400 each.

Cst. Peter Batt, of the Port Alberni RCMP, is looking for more information on the crime. He is hoping someone saw the theft or has information that can help apprehend the culprits.

Paul Dagg is the Huu‐ay‐aht First Nations Forest LP Planning Forester. He says this kind of theft happens quite frequently and is frustrating to the crew.

“These guys work hard in the woods to salvage the wood,” he says. “Then someone comes along and steals it in the middle of the night. It gets them pretty upset.”

Dagg says the crime has been reported to the Compliance and Enforcement branch of the Ministry of Forests, as well as the RCMP. They will be keeping their eyes out for anything unusual in the area.

On Thursday night, Bozak pulled his fifth‐wheel to the site to offer a bit of security, and at approximately 1 a.m. he heard a vehicle. When he went outside he saw a pickup truck driving away, but nothing was stolen. Dagg speculates that the thieves probably returned the second night but left when they saw someone was there.

If you saw anything suspicious on night of January 21 or the early morning hours of January 22, please contact the RCMP at 250‐723‐2424 or the Alberni Valley CrimeStoppers at 1‐800‐222‐9477.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The NTC would like to thank The Peak radio for inviting us to comment on the high numbers of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada, and on MP James Lunney’s recent statements. 

Ms. Foxcroft would like to clarify one of the paraphrased statements in the radio story, which may have given listeners the impression this issue does not touch us here at home and is only an issue on Vancouver’s East Side and around Prince George’s Highway of Tears.

While most of the missing and murdered First Nations in BC were living in those areas, this issue has also impacted our people.  While there may be no recent cases ofmissing and murdered women or girls from Nuu-chah-nulth communities, she is aware that there are historical cases involving Nuu-chah-nulth women and girls, including those living in or away from their communities.  She wishes to refrain from mentioning particular names as this may cause pain to the family members.

Her heart goes out to the families and communities of these women. She acknowledges the heartbreaking difficulty of not knowing what has happened to a loved one who has gone missing, or the profound loss of a wife, mother, grandmother, aunty or daughter whose life has been taken away too soon.  She also recognizes the challenge of having these cases discussed by Canada’s politicians in such a cold and dismissive way.

Nuu-cha-nulth traditions teach us to respect and honour our women as givers of life. The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council is committed to supporting and promoting healthy, safe and respectful communities. The safety and well-being of our women and girls is one of our highest priorities.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

January 13, 2015

Herring Industry Advisory Board,

Attention: Greg Thomas, Chair

Canadian Fishing Company

Attention: Dan Nomura, President

Herring Industry Advisory Board:

Please bring this letter to the attention of all BC Commercial Herring Fishermen.

The Haida Nation was informed on December 17, 2014 that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is contemplating opening a commercial spawn on kelp and roe herring fisheries in the major stock assessment area of Haida Gwaii in 2015. The draft Management Plan distributed on January 2, 2015 indicates that DFO proposes to use a 10% harvest rate for this area and proposes to allocate 1,000 tons for the spawn on kelp fishery and 800 tons for a roe seine fishery.

Herring stocks on Haida Gwaii have not rebuilt sufficiently to support a fishery. In particular, we note that the amount of spawn in 2014 declined from 2013. Many DFO scientists and industry have both indicated a need to re-evaluate current herring management models and procedures. The current management approach is flawed and based on over-optimistic models with a high level of uncertainty. Continued closure of the commercial herring fishery in Haida Gwaii is necessary to allow stocks to rebuild and to facilitate development of a sound management approach. If the fishery is opened, we will resort to litigation to protect the herring.

We do not wish to cause undue hardship and expense to commercial herring fishermen, however the well-being of the herring is in all of our interests, and in the interests of future generations of fishers.  For these reasons, and the fact that the Haida Nation has closed this area, fishermen should not select the Haida Gwaii major stock assessment area.

We remain available to discuss these matters and explore how we might work together to ensure the long-term health of Haida Gwaii herring.

Respectfully on behalf of the Haida Nation,

kil tlaats'gaa Peter Lantin

President of the Haida Nation

Thursday, January 8, 2015

An open letter to the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and BC commercial herring fishermen:

In support of the Nuu‐chah‐nulth Tribal Council request dated Jan 5, 2015, the United Fisherman and Allied Workers Union – Unifor recommends to all BC commercial herring fishermen that they do not select WCVI as their seine or gillnet area for upcoming 2015 herring season. The decision to support this request was not taken lightly and based on four factors: independent science review of the herring stocks in the WCVI region; our own fishermen’s assessment of the state of these WCVI stocks; respect for local First Nations insights; and willingness to build a collaborative understanding of the state of these herring in our shared ecosystem.

Read Nuu-chah-nulth request here: http://www.hashilthsa.com/news/2015-01-06/open-letter-bc-commercial-herr...

The independent science was presented and discussed in part at a meeting hosted by the Canadian Fisheries Research Network at UBC Fisheries Centre in Nov 6, 2014 with scientists, DFO management, and industry representatives in attendance. Serious questions were raised about the DFO model used to predict herring stocks, as well as changes made in herring stock assessment methodology that have mysteriously reversed the downward trend found in the previous method. Spawning stock biomass is thought to below 5% of unfished biomass. The department’s main questioning in these discussions was around the definition of a recovered stock.

Fishermen and the UFAWU‐Unifor have been supportive of First Nations involvement in commercial fisheries for multiple decades. Our sector is the only economic sector in the province where employment is fully one quarter First Nations – no other sector even comes close. We have also been on the front lines advocating nationally and internationally for protection of fisheries for local independent fishermen and adjacent communities.

In the 1970’s we pushed Canada to take a lead role for the development of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to enshrine local fishery and adjacent community protection. We were successful in this as coastal States were granted 200nm Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) – with a sustainable management caveat. Fisheries Minister Romeo LeBlanc in a 1979 speech to the House of Commons said: “It was in the name of the small coastal communities and the small fishermen who could not compete with the foreign fishing fleets that we argued successfully with the rest of the world that Canada should manage the 200‐mile zone”.

However these ideals have been lost in fisheries management policies on Canada’s Pacific coast. Over the last four decades access to fish and fisheries has become separated from BC fishermen and adjacent rural communities. Unlike our Atlantic coast, Canada has not protected these interests with the same fleet separation policies enforced in the four Atlantic Provinces and Quebec.

Today many BC fishermen find themselves living with poverty level wages. There are few new entrants training for the sector because the prospects are so poor. After forty years of fleet rationalization intended to protect fishermen and adjacent communities, only one quarter the number of the fishermen are left from 1980s, and every rural BC fishing community continues to decline. Obviously policies of the last decades have not worked. Fishermen are now catching more fish and making less money, not because the fish are worth less or they are more difficult to catch, they are not, but because armchair fishermen, license investors and speculators are allowed to lease the right to fish, and charge prices that at times exceed 75% of the landed value of the catch. Fishing licenses should be for fishermen to fish, not for speculative investing or leasing. Fishermen cannot and should not have to compete head on with outside investors or with multi‐national corporations’ when it comes to attaining fishing licenses.

All our rural adjacent communities suffer as do our independent fishermen when multi‐national corporations are allowed to abuse their dominant position. Our weak fisheries licensing regime is allowing this and this needs to change. Policies need to be put in place to drive fishing licenses back into the hands of independent fishermen and rural coastal communities.

As for working directly with First Nations, we are doing this on a number of fronts and commit to continue. On the West Coast of Vancouver Island we have been a member, since inception, of West Coast Aquatic Management Board. In the North Coast we have played a key role in the provincial ‐First Nations MaPP planning process. It is through these multi‐sectorial integrated management processes that we hope to find common understandings of the complex problems we face, and build solutions that work for our shared future. We are willing to work bilaterally to build a Coastal Fisheries Strategy to support thriving First Nations and independent fishermen fisheries on our coast.

As for the way the DFO‐Pacific makes decisions on fisheries policies: this needs to change. Their opaque processes demands transparency – this has been highlighted many times most recently in the Cohen Commission. Adjacent communities, including First Nations, and active fishermen need to be integrally involved in decision making. DFO‐Pacific’s corporate democracy, where licence holders who do not fish regularly out vote active fishermen, makes a farce out of co‐management of our common property. The socio‐economic outcomes are not acceptable; the decision making structure needs to change.

The issues raised here regarding these herring stocks speak to a more systemic issue that is related to broader governance and management issues. We understand that these are complex issues and are willing to work directly with all parties to resolve. It is with great respect we submit this letter to the Nuu‐chah‐nulth Tribal Council and BC commercial herring fishermen. We hope there is understanding for fishermen that have been put in the middle of this situation and are only trying to make a living in an industry that many have been in for generations. We truly hope that we can work together for a more sustainable fishery, more sustainable communities and a shared future our children will be proud to be part of on this magnificent coast we all live on.


Kim Olsen,
President UFAWU-Unifor
Cell 604-836-5570


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