First Nations would like to have a specific conversation on priority access and allocation for food social and ceremonial fisheries (FSC) and their commercial access before allocations are given to other stakeholder fisheries. First Nations understand that DFO has institutional needs and First Nations communities support conservation to maintain access to fisheries for future generations. However, we need to reconcile the needs of DFO as a management agency with First Nations constitutional rights and community needs.
The reconciliation applies for Food, Social, Ceremonial fisheries as well as commercial fisheries.
- Changes in the management of a fishery need to include consultation, accommodation, and preservation of priority access rights.
- Inter-tribal protocols, nation to nation trade systems must be respected and understood.
- Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for snow crab has been significantly reduced in the Atlantic. This will drastically impact First Nations that participated in fisheries in Areas 12 and 19.
- Important to consult and accommodate First Nations before lowering the TAC. The uniform reduction in TAC does not fully preserve First Nations priority access rights to fisheries.
- There should be communications protocols to ensure that conservation measures are taken while protecting of First Nations rights. Conservation and rights are both priorities and are not mutually exclusive.