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Sumas First Nation in Abbotsford launches 2nd conservation and harvest plan

Intent is to rebuild salmon populations and enhance Indigenous fisheries management
Sumas First Nation has launched its second Conservation, Guardianship and Harvest Plan, which includes rebuilding the salmon population at Cultus Lake. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Sumas First Nation (Semá:th) in Abbotsford announced Thursday (July 8) that it has launched its second Conservation, Guardianship and Harvest Plan.

Chief Dalton Silver said Sumas First Nation’s intent is to restore and enhance Indigenous fisheries management and traditional practices within their territory to help inform future fisheries conservation and management. The intent is also to rebuild Sumas, Chilliwack, and Cultus Lake salmon populations.

The Semá:th Tribe had several villages situated around the former Semá:th Lake and Fraser River mainstem, and always relied on these waterways for sustenance, said Coun. Murray Ned.

Historically, the community has thrived on salmon and game harvests on and around the lake and had a deep cultural connection to the area since time immemorial.

RELATED: Sumas First Nation pilots eight-inch gill-net fishery in Sumas/Vedder River

“The harvest and stock assessment activities will provide some of the food, social and ceremonial needs of the community but, just as importantly, much-needed data collection to guide our future conservation and management decisions,” Ned said.

He said this is integral to the Semá:th people and aligns with their inherent obligation to protect resources in the territory.

Chief Dalton Silver said this work is being done to honour their ancestors, their elders, people today and the generations to follow.

“Through our own declaration in 2017, Sumas First Nation reaffirms our inherent right to all land, mountains, minerals, trees, lakes, rivers, streams and resources extending through our traditional lands,” he said. “We also recognize that this is shared territory with other Sto:lo Nations and there is need for tribal collaboration and cooperation.”

Sumas First Nation has approximately 350 members and currently resides on a reserve land base of approximately 600 acres.

RELATED: Sumas First Nation signs declaration in Abbotsford

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