BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C.'s Heiltsuk Nation in talks with government about contentious fishery

03/31/2015 12:31 EDT | Updated 05/31/2015 05:59 EDT
BELLA BELLA, B.C. - B.C.'s Heiltsuk Nation says it is now in talks with federal officials about a disputed herring fishery in its central coast territory but has yet to see a resolution.

The First Nation issued a news release that says its representatives met Monday in Heiltsuk territory with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans regional director general, Sue Farlinger.

Farlinger's visit comes as Heiltsuk members occupied a federal field office on Denny Island by locking themselves inside and camping outside in objection to an expected gillnet fishery.

Heiltsuk Nation says discussions with Farlinger will resume Tuesday, and members will meanwhile continue to occupy the office where protests began Sunday night.

The First Nation says Farlinger has now offered to set aside areas for Heiltsuk food, social, and ceremonial fisheries, but the nation wants a guarantee that the fishery will be closed to commercial harvesters.

Heiltsuk Nation says there's not enough herring for a commercial fishery, but the federal government maintains that the stock can support a modest harvest.