11/12/2015 13:44 EST | Updated 11/12/2016 00:12 EST

Critically low salmon returns prompt B.C. First Nations to call for meeting

VANCOUVER — Members of the First Nations Wild Salmon Alliance in British Columbia have written to federal Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo, requesting an urgent meeting to discuss plunging salmon returns in the province's rivers.

The alliance's Chief Bob Chamberlin says six million sockeye salmon were forecast for the Fraser River this year, but only two million fish arrived, while 14 million pink salmon were expected, but barely one-third showed up.

The collection of B.C. First Nations that work to protect wild Pacific salmon stocks says the decline comes as the provincial government approves an increase of industrial effluent into the Fraser.

Chamberlin says Tootoo must take immediate action, including a moratorium on all salmon aquaculture ventures on the West Coast.

Elsewhere in B.C., the Tsilhqot'in and St'at'imc nations have joined forces to protect mule deer migration trails in a narrow strip between the Fraser River and South Chilcotin Park, northwest of Lillooet.

The two nations have banned Tolko Industries from further logging in the region, saying they have not given consent for such extensive cutting. 

The Canadian Press