Prairie Post (West Edition)

AB gov’t makes changes regarding Indigenous fish harvest


The province is working to end the requiremen­t for Indigenous people with constituti­onally protected rights to fish for food, to hold a domestic fishing licence.

Currently, First Nations and Métis harvesters in Alberta are required to hold a free-of-charge domestic fishing licence when exercising their right to harvest fish for food. Alberta’s government will explore a non-licence alternativ­e to remove this obstacle while still ensuring fish conservati­on protection­s remain in place.

As an interim step, as of Oct. 4, Environmen­t and Parks has requested enforcemen­t leniency on certain terms and conditions related to domestic fishing licences.

“True reconcili-action can only come through partnershi­p and collaborat­ion. Indigenous communitie­s and leaders have told us about this barrier to exercising their harvesting rights. We will continue to work with Indigenous communitie­s toward a non-licence alternativ­e,” explained Jason Kenney, Premier.

“Through collaborat­ion with Indigenous communitie­s, we are working toward removing the requiremen­t for Indigenous individual­s to hold a domestic fishing licence when harvesting fish for food.

I look forward to continuing our discussion­s as we work towards true reconcilia­tion.”

Whitney Issik, Minister of Environmen­t and Parks

“This a long called for action coming to light that this government is happy to fulfill. Nothing should stand in the way for Indigenous people to exercise their inherent treaty rights. This is the right thing to do and we will continue to look for ways to walk the path of reconcilia­tion together.”

Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations

Environmen­t and Parks began discussion­s with Indigenous organizati­ons in July to discuss a path forward for domestic fishing licences.

Quick facts

• Next to conservati­on, the highest priority for the allocation and use of fish is Indigenous food fishing.

• Domestic fishing licences are available online through AlbertaREL­M for Indigenous persons with harvesting rights in Alberta. These licences come with terms and conditions.

• Although Environmen­t and Parks recently requested enforcemen­t leniency on certain terms and conditions related to domestic fishing licences, the terms and conditions of domestic fishing licences remain unchanged.

• Federal legislatio­n will need to be amended to facilitate the removal of the domestic fishing licence requiremen­t. Alberta’s government remains committed to reconcilia­tion. Indigenous­led solutions that affect meaningful change will lead to a better future for all.

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