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HomeNewsCarrier Sekani oppose "unnecessary destruction" of thousands of young white sturgeon

Carrier Sekani oppose “unnecessary destruction” of thousands of young white sturgeon

The Carrier Sekani Tribal Council is opposed to a plan by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources to cull 6,000 white sturgeon.

12,000 young sturgeon are currently being reared in the Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative hatchery in Vanderhoof but only 6,000 can be released into the Nechako River, due to concerns about overstocking.

The current plan is to cull the rest.

Tribal Chief Terry Teegee says the decision is being made without meaningful and timely consultation with local First Nations.

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“The Carrier Sekani believe this is an inappropriate option when there are other viable options out there,” says Terry Teegee, Tribal Chief of the Carrier Sekani. “Another option is to put them into a lake that can support sturgeon and there’s also housing them at an aquaculture Facility in Vancouver Island.”

The issues with those options, Teegee says, is the inflexibility of the Species at Risk Act, which prohibits the hatchery fish being used for anything other than species recovery. He says the decision was made with meaningful consultation with any Carrier Sekani First Nations.

“I think there needs to be a better process that involves the Carrier Sekani in making these types of decisions. I think there needs to be more involvement in the the final decisions and also how to mitigate these issues from coming up again. Currently, that that doesn’t exist.”

Teegee is pleased with the success of the hatchery initiative but not with this recent decision. He says steps need to be taken to make sure the current situation isn’t repeated.

“There need to be continued study and monitoring of those sturgeon that have been released in the past and this year. More importantly, I think there needs to be better planning and how many brood and how many juveniles we incubate through the hatchery for next year. Unless we agree on an annual rearing and release plan or contingency plan, we’re likely to find ourselves in a similar position in coming years.”

According to the Omineca Express, the cull is currently scheduled for Friday.

A post attributed to John Rustad, who is currently running for re-election in the Nechako Lakes riding, appeared on the Vanderhoof Community Message Board today.

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