Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour says freighters should not be anchoring off Cowichan shores. (File photo)

Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour says freighters should not be anchoring off Cowichan shores. (File photo)

Cowichan Tribes against anchorage of freighters in local waters

MP Alistair MacGregor introduced bill on issue last month

Cowichan Tribes has joined the fight to prohibit freighters from anchoring in coastal waters along the Salish Sea.

Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour said the southern Gulf Islands are the heart of Cowichan Tribes’ marine territory where members harvest food and resources daily to sustain themselves.

“Tanker traffic and anchorages in these inside waters and narrow passages between islands pose an unacceptable risk to the ecological integrity that sustains our food resources, which are critical to the long-term livelihoods and well-being of our members,” said Seymour.

“Canada introduced the Interim Protocol for the Use of BC Anchorages in early 2018. The federal Crown implemented this Interim Protocol in our marine territory without securing Cowichan Tribes’ free, prior and informed consent, and consultation on the protocol’s impacts to our aboriginal and indigenous rights has been shallow, intermittent and rushed.”

Last month, Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor introduced a Private Member’s Bill in Ottawa to amend the Canada Shipping Act to prohibit the anchoring of freighter vessels using coastal waters along the Salish Sea.

RELATED STORY: MACGREGOR INTRODUCES BILL TO ADDRESS PROBLEM FREIGHTER ANCHORAGES

It’s becoming a long-standing issue particularly for residents of Saltair, Chemainus, Thetis and Penelakut islands, other Gulf Islands, Cowichan Bay, Ladysmith and Nanaimo.

Some of the parked freighters are as large as 300 metres in size.

In addition to the noise and light pollution, there are concerns about the affects to the marine environment.

Repeated calls have been made by community groups and First Nations about protecting clam beds, prawns, oysters and endangered species, such as the southern resident killer whales, from the environmental impact of the anchored shipping vessels.

Seymour said Cowichan Tribes has been working tirelessly for decades to restore the ecological function and balance of Cowichan Bay and estuary.

He said a fuel spill or vessel grounding in Cowichan Bay or in the southern Gulf Islands would be catastrophic and would set back the First Nation’s restoration efforts by decades and threaten its food security.

RELATED STORY: GROUP TAKING ACTION ON INCREASED FREIGHTER ANCHORAGES AROUND THETIS ISLAND

“Cowichan Tribes have repeatedly raised their serious concerns with the federal Crown, which have gone substantially or wholly unaddressed by the Interim Protocol,” Seymour said.

“These concerns include continued bilge pumping, impacts to fish and mammal species from increased underwater acoustic noise due to dropping and weighing anchor, impacts to the ocean floor from dragging of anchor, aerial particulate inputs and small chemical spills that may occur while ships are at anchor in these inland waters, noise and light pollution, and illegal fishing by vessel occupants.”

Seymour said that Cowichan Tribes, as a constituent community of the historic Cowichan (Quw’utsun) Nation, has never ceded and continues to retain its inherent jurisdiction over its marine territory.

“Our leadership, organization, and community express concern for the impacts of commercial and recreational activity, including unauthorized anchoring in our marine territory,” he said.

“We urge all orders of government, industry and other stakeholders to work together with us to manage and protect our resources.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

First Nations

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

North Cowichan’s committee of the whole have rejected staff’s recommendation to limit the use of fireworks to Halloween. (File photo)
North Cowichan rejects limiting fireworks to Halloween

Municipality decides staff recommendation would be unpopular

Flag exhibit is now set up in the Chemainus Valley Museum. (Photo by Val Galvin)
Fibre artists put their unique twists on climate change exhibit

Red Flag warning label affixed to collection now on display at the Chemainus Valley Museum

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Letters to the editor.
Many questions emerge from opioid dealer’s sentence

Leniency hard to fathom, especially after judge’s harsh words

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read