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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria School for Ideal Education at 2820 Belmont Avenue is the second school in Greater Victoria with an active confirmed COVID-19 exposure. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Private school becomes second Greater Victoria school with COVID-19 exposure

Victoria School for Ideal Education follows Lakeview Christian School in Saanich

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

Vehicles involved crashes in Oak Bay from 2019. (ICBC Screenshot)
A crash on Foul Bay Road near Carnarvon Street in 2018. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Foul Bay Road a corridor of crashes in 2019

Last year, 63 crashes in Oak Bay involved vehicles

A seabin is able to intercept and collect floating debris in calm bodies of water. This is one of two installed in the North Saanich Marina by a group of local businesses thanks to the proceeds from Blue Friday sales in 2019. (Provided by Maya Bellay)
Blue Friday to support more trash skimmers in Greater Victoria waters

Seabins can collect up to one-and-a-half tons of floating debris per year

An economic recovery plan in progress since April offers various recommendations for the region to overcome the impacts of COVID-19. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Greater Victoria economic ‘reboot’ plan tackles impacts of COVID-19

Newly-formed task force looks at various sectors, industries

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti speaks with the media following party caucus in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental health as grounds for assisted death is likely temporary: Lametti

Senators also suggested the exclusion renders the bill unconstitutional

Claudio Mastronardi, Toronto branch manager at Carmichael Engineering, is photographed at the company’s offices in Mississauga, Ont., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. As indoor air quality becomes a major concern in places of business, HVAC companies are struggling to keep up with demand for high quality filtration systems. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Business is booming for HVAC companies as commercial buildings see pandemic upgrades

‘The demand right now is very high. People are putting their health and safety ahead of cost’

Bank of Montreal, located on Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver. (Google Maps)
Heiltsuk man files human rights complaint against Vancouver police, BMO after bank arrest

Pair remains distraught after employee falsely reports fraud in progress leading to their arrest

RCMP Cpl. Cory Lepine pictured at BC Livestock Producers Co. in Kamloops, Nov. 16. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Meet B.C.’s only cowboy cop; a voice for the livestock industry

Cpl. Cory Lepine serves as a bridge between the law and those who make a living off the land

BCHL
BCHL pushes back season start due to provincial health orders

The delay is minimal, just six days, for now. But the league is open to starting up after Christmas

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Long-awaited federal rent subsidy program for businesses hurt by COVID-19 opens today

The new program will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest

Most Read