First Nations Fisheries Council of British Columbia
The FNFC works with and on behalf of BC First Nations to protect and reconcile Aboriginal Title and Rights and Treaty Rights as they relate to fisheries and the health and protection of aquatic resources. The FNFC will achieve this mandate by working to:
- Advance and protect First Nations Title and Rights related to fisheries and aquatic resources, including priority access for food, cultural and economic purposes;
- Support First Nations to build and maintain capacity related to fishing, planning, policy, law, management, and decision-making at a variety of scales (local, regional, national, international);
- Facilitate discussions related to the development of a BC-wide First Nations-based collaborative management framework that recognizes and respects First Nations jurisdiction, management authority and responsibilities.
The FNFC was formed in 2007 under the direction and mandate of BC Chiefs when they determined a need for a province-wide First Nations fisheries organization. Established as a registered society in 2008, the FNFC has the mandate of implementing the BC First Nations Fisheries Action Plan (2007), which provides a foundation for BC First Nations to seek increased shares in the BC fishery and greater involvement in management and decision making. The Action Plan is a strong collective vision and strategy to achieve progress on First Nations’ goals for transformative changes in the BC fishery and is focused on the six key themes of:
1) Relationships and Reconciliation,
2) Aquatic Resource Sharing
3) Safeguarding Habitat and Responding to Threats
4) Aquatic Resource Management
5) Building Solid Economic Opportunities, and
6) Negotiations and Litigation.
The role of the FNFC is to develop effective governance mechanisms, form collaborative relationships among First Nations organizations, and work together with First Nations to speak with a strong and unified voice on fisheries. Working together allows First Nations to amplify their voices to address issues of shared concern and to harness the capacity needed for meaningful engagement and participation in fisheries management, policy and regulatory development, and implementation. In 2011, the FNFC wrote Developing a United Voice for First Nations Fisheries in BC as a three-year Strategic Plan (2012–2015) to advance the Action Plan. It enabled the FNFC to establish its reputation as a sound, rigorous and legitimate organization that advances the fisheries interests of BC First Nations, and articulates structural process to enable collaboration at the operational and policy levels. In subsequent years (2015 and 2019), updated strategic plans were developed, which build on our previous work and articulate the FNFC’s intended direction. The latest iteration of our strategic plan (2019-2021) identifies the priorities of 1) Recognition, Respect and Implementation of Indigenous Rights, 2) Collaborating for Improved Management and Sustainable Fisheries, and 3) Re-building First Nation Fisheries Economies.
Many of our key activities include bringing together First Nations from across the province to participate in working groups and committees to address things such as: legislative and policy review, review and advising on fisheries management policies and their implementation, exploring opportunities for First Nations to benefit from the fisheries and aquatic resources in their territories that can support healthy First Nation economies. The FNFC regularly hosts a number of meetings and workshops throughout the year in various locations around the province to directly engage First Nation communities in discussion on a wide range of fisheries-related topics from Indigenous Knowledge Systems, to Water Governance and Management, to Exercising Fisheries Rights and everything in between.
This evolution has allowed the FNFC to achieve stability and an advanced rating as an organization, and will continue to guide our activities into the future. Our progress since the FNFC’s inception in 2007 demonstrates that collaboration and dialogue are progressing in a constructive manner in BC.
“Our ancestors have passed on to us the responsibility to protect our land, water and resources as they have before us, and to pass on our traditional values and practices to future generations. First Nations in BC will work together, based on respect for each other and the natural world, to address issues in the fishery for our common good and to enhance the wellbeing of our communities. We will strive to maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems and species and restore them as necessary. We will work in partnership and share management responsibility based on our ownership of our territories and our right to manage the fishery. We will work with other governments and third parties to ensure recognition and respect of our Title and Rights and conservation and appropriate management of the resource.”
BC First Nations Fisheries Action Plan (2006)
KEY ACTIVITIES INCLUDE:
The FNFC works with and on behalf of BC First Nations to protect, reconcile, and advance First Nations Title and Rights. In recognition of the need to advance common positions on fisheries matters through a united voice, the FNFC works to develop capacity and relationships that enable BC First Nations to influence the integrated planning and management of fisheries and aquatic resources. By establishing collaborative processes and cohesive messaging, BC First Nations can become active fisheries managers and decision-makers to ensure fisheries resources are conserved for the benefit of future generations.
Executive Director, Executive Assistant, Communications Manager, Finance Manager, Finance Assistant, Strategic Development Manager, Operations Manager, Water for Fish Manager, Natural Resources Manager, Economic Development Manager, Project Coordinators (3)
Articles of commitment and shared objectives have been developed at all scales between the FNFC and partner organizations, e.g. Fisheries and Oceans Canada and other federal departments, the Province of BC, the BC First Nations Leadership Council, and regional First Nations fisheries organizations (many of which are also funded by AAROM). We have also been working to establish relationships at the national level, e.g. with the Assembly of First Nations.