Chief Feschuk is proud of his band’s efforts and the work that has been done in the five major watershed areas in SIB territory.
The Sechelt Indian Band (SIB) has been a full participant on the SCRD board for over twenty years and has been restocking the fish-bearing streams on the Coast for nearly as long. I spoke with Chief Garry Feschuk on the band’s process to increase fish stocks on the Coast, and he stated that they have been putting resources into enhancing returns since 1993. Band members have monitored fish returns in creeks and rivers that are included in the Sechelt Nation’s Land Use Plan, to make sure that fish stocks are maintained or enhanced.
Sakinaw Lake is an example of the SIB working with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to bring back the sockeye. Years ago the fish numbered in the thousands and then were almost depleted before SIB and DFO efforts saved some of the original sockeye; with the use of the captive brood program at a hatchery, they are restocking the lake. Though sparse in the first year, the sockeye return has now reached the hundreds. Under its resource management plan, the band intends to pursue this project until sockeye returns are closer to historical numbers.
Chief Feschuk is proud of his band’s efforts and the work that has been done in the five major watershed areas in SIB territory. The band’s monitoring of juveniles in all the streams provides a good indication of returns for each year.
Chief Feschuk spoke of the Tzoonie River and initial concerns a few years ago about silt from an IPP; he is now pleased that, in fact, stocks in the river are the same and, in some species, still increasing. Chief Feschuk was happiest with the efforts of one IPP company, Regional Power, which built, and still maintains, a fish channel near the Clowhom Dam at the top of Salmon Inlet. The fish stocks in this area have increased over the years to between 10,000 and 15,000 fish, depending on the year. There are three major SIB reclamation projects in Jervis Inlet where the largest returns of salmon are occurring.
The Chief applauded the hard work of Sid Quinn who has taken on the coordinating of resource management as part of the Band’s sustainability policy. He also acknowledged the efforts of other agencies on the Coast that are trying to rebuild the fish stocks.
There will be a First Nation gathering at the top of Salmon Inlet this year to celebrate the construction of the fish channel at Sechelt Creek and the kiosk built there to celebrate the mystical history of the place. Chief Feschuk has invited David Suzuki to attend the celebration.
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