06/13/2013 05:07 EDT | Updated 08/13/2013 05:12 EDT

Historic B.C. fishing boat pulled from Ottawa museum

A historic B.C. fishing boat has been removed from an Ottawa museum's permanent display, prompting the museum's former curator to question the decision.

The Nishga Girl is a wooden gillnetter that sailed along the northern coast near Prince Rupert from 1968 to 1990.

The boat — which weighs several tons and is more than 10 metres long, three metres high and approximately three metres wide — had been on display at the Canadian Museum of History as a centrepiece in an exhibit modeled after the town of Steveston, which recreated a wharf surrounded by buildings, ships and tools that would have been used in a fishing and salmon-canning community between 1940 and 1970.

A spokesperson for the museum says they're in the process of transitioning into a new Canadian Museum of History and the Nishga Girl no longer fits the storyline.

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But George MacDonald, a former curator at the museum who helped bring Nishga Girl to Ottawa 15 years ago, said he doesn't understand the decision to take down what was meant to be a permanent exhibit.

"There was no rationale given, and still has not been given, as to why it was taken out," he said. "It was said they didn't think it fit. But nothing could be more inaccurate. It represented 10,000 years of salmon fishing by communities of the northwest coast."

The Nishga Girl was built by Jack "Judo" Tasaka, a Canadian of Japanese heritage who made more than 200 wooden fishing boats in his career, and donated to the Canadian Museum of Civilization by First Nations Nisga'a Chief Harry Nyce who owned and operated the boat for nearly 20 years.

The museum says it plans to meet with Nyce and the National Association of Japanese Canadians next week to find a permanent home for the boat.

The Nishga Girl is currently being stored in boxes in a warehouse.