Thursday, December 24, 2009

Lax Kw'alaams loses fishery appeal at B. C. Court of Appeal

Having had their original claim of confirmation on fishery issues refused, the Lax Kw'alaams have now had their their appeal turned down, which was seeking confirmation of fishing rights which entitled them to a native right to harvest and sell all species of fish on a commercial basis in their traditional territory.

In a decision handed down on Wednesday, the B. C. Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the lower court judge earlier this year, which ruled that an ancient trade of grease derived from a species of fish in the past, did not necessarily lead to a modern right to fish for all species.

It's the second ruling in recent months that has turned down a First Nation's claim to aboriginal title over a fishery. Recently the court upheld the Federal Government's control over all fisheries in territories of some Vancouver Island First Nations, though the courts have urged in the past that both sides engage in further discussions and negotiations to resolve outstanding issues.

On December 3rd, the Federal Government filed an appeal of the courts ruling of aboriginal right to fish in those Vancouver Island territories, the Lax Kw'alaams ruling will provide the recently installed Council appointees to the Fisheries chair of Rob Hughes, Victor Kelly and Stan Dennis with much to study and report back to Lax Kw'alaams council on over the next little while.
With the decision of Wednesday, the stage is now set for a potential appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

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