Removing obstacles for Indigenous fish harvest
Oct 04, 2022
The province is working to end the requirement for Indigenous people with constitutionally protected rights to fish for food, to hold a domestic fishing licence.
Currently, First Nations and Métis harvesters in Alberta are required to hold a free-of-charge domestic fishing licence when exercising their right to harvest fish for food. Alberta’s government will explore a non-licence alternative to remove this obstacle while still ensuring fish conservation protections remain in place.
As an interim step, Environment and Parks has requested enforcement leniency on certain terms and conditions related to domestic fishing licences.
“True reconcili-action can only come through partnership and collaboration. Indigenous communities and leaders have told us about this barrier to exercising their harvesting rights. We will continue to work with Indigenous communities toward a non-licence alternative.”
Jason Kenney, Premier
“Through collaboration with Indigenous communities, we are working toward removing the requirement for Indigenous individuals to hold a domestic fishing licence when harvesting fish for food. I look forward to continuing our discussions as we work towards true reconciliation.”
Whitney Issik, Minister of Environment and Parks
“This a long called for action coming to light that this government is happy to fulfill. Nothing should stand in the way for Indigenous people to exercise their inherent treaty rights. This is the right thing to do and we will continue to look for ways to walk the path of reconciliation together.”
Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations
Environment and Parks began discussions with Indigenous organizations in July to discuss a path forward for domestic fishing licences.
- Next to conservation, the highest priority for the allocation and use of fish is Indigenous food fishing.
- Domestic fishing licences are available online through AlbertaRELM for Indigenous persons with harvesting rights in Alberta. These licences come with terms and conditions.
- Although Environment and Parks recently requested enforcement leniency on certain terms and conditions related to domestic fishing licences, the terms and conditions of domestic fishing licences remain unchanged.
- Federal legislation will need to be amended to facilitate the removal of the domestic fishing licence requirement.
Alberta’s government remains committed to reconciliation. Indigenous-led solutions that affect meaningful change will lead to a better future for all.