Resource: Fish Out of Water: Tools to Protect British Columbia’s Groundwater and Wild Salmon

Authors / Publisher: Watershed Watch Salmon Society, Secwepemc Fisheries Commission, Okanagan Nation Alliance Fisheries Department, Northern Shuswap Tribal Council, and Nicola Tribal Association

Date: April 2009

PDF: Fish Out of Water: Tools to Protect British Columbia’s Groundwater and Wild Salmon

Summary:

There is a critical need for better information and more effective tools to protect water and salmon.

Fish Out of Water: Tools to Protect British Columbia’s Groundwater and Wild Salmon offers help to salmon stewards—and First Nations in particular—trying to save groundwater resources vital to the future of wild salmon. Fish Out of Water begins by highlighting the crucial dependence of salmon on groundwater—and of the current crisis in wild salmon management. It then introduces potential legal tools for salmon stewards.

In Part 1 environmental lawyer Linda Nowlan reviews laws that relate to water and salmon in BC. In Part 2 lawyers Douglas White and Tim Howard of the aboriginal law firm Mandell Pinder describe specific cases and tools related to aboriginal interests around water and salmon.

The report draws on Watershed Watch’s previous work around groundwater and salmon and strives to catalyze action through improved outreach, access to decision-makers, and awareness about the constitutionally protected rights of First Nations to salmon.

The message is powerful: Without adequate supplies of groundwater, both salmon and rights are threatened, and we must use these rights, and a suite of tools and tactics, to push for a greater awareness of and action around the threats to water and salmon.

Acknowledgements:

This work was funded by the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation. Additional support for Watershed Watch came from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Kingfishers Rod and Gun Club.