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Documentary shows Indigenous partnership to rebuild wild salmon

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Efforts between three First Nations and the Province of B.C. to rebuild salmon stocks is being highlighted in a new documentary.

The partnership includes the Mamalilikulla, ‘Namgis and Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nations and efforts are focused on rebuilding the salmon in the Broughton Archipelago, off the coast of the North Island.

The film, called “Mi’ma’omakw: People of the Salmon”, follows the concerns of the Nations about fish farm impacts on wild salmon and the marine environment. They say this led to negotiations with the provincial government in 2017 and 2018. The result was nine fish farms being removed from the migratory pathways for juvenile wild salmon.

Seven more may be removed in the future. Mamalilikulla retired Chief Richard Sumner says the survival of the salmon is important for food security.

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“I think it’s important to keep an open mind,” said Chief Sumner. “The bottom line is the survival of the wild salmon so that we have a reliable food source, not only for ourselves but for the wildlife population in our territories.”

Teams of monitoring technicians from each of the nations conduct surveys regularly along with sea lice counts on the industry’s farms. They also do habitat restoration and other efforts to bring back wild salmon to their territories.

The 17-minute film has debuted at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival and the Kay Meek Arts Centre. It is also available online until Mar. 27 as part of the festival’s Canadian Environmental show.

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