Information on the 2019 Fishing Season and Disaster Relief Form
As everyone is well aware, the 2019 Fishing Season has been disastrous for many of our Kwakiutl fishermen. Please find information below on the fight for Disaster Relief and a PDF of a form you can fill out and mail in. Should you need assistance filling out the form or would like it mailed in once completed, please contact Michelle at the Band Office. Thank you.
CBC new Story: 'They're flat broke': Salmon fishermen demand disaster relief for failed season"
UFAWU | Unifor: FB page for Commerical Fishermen (get updates here)
UFAWU | unifor: 2019 Season Disaster Webpage
*Please Note: The UFAWU-Unifor.org website is not working properly and the forms cannot be completed and submitted online
Please complete your form and submit it using one of the 5 options provided below:
1) Complete Form at the Kwakiutl Band Office and give to Michelle Hunt to email/mail in.
2) Download the form and Email it back to the Union.
3) Download the form and fax it to the Union Hall at: 250 627 7951
4) Download and mail to Minister Wilkinson and Minister Popham directly (Addresses are included on the form)
5) Download and mail to the Union at: UFAWU-Unifor, 869 Fraser Street, Prince Rupert, B.C. V8J 1R1
*Please click on the PDF link at the bottom of this page to download a form to fill out and mail in for your disaster relief.
Excerpts from UFAWU letter
Dear Minister Wilkinson, Minister Popham, Minister McKenna and Minister Hayman,
Re: BC Fishery Disaster Relief
The 2019 salmon season has all the makings of a disaster for commercial fishermen and allied workers.
Run sizes are much lower than predicted and fisheries which were expected to occur are not....
Closures intended to protect southern resident killer whales have negatively impacted the west coast of Vancouver Island and northern troll fleets. In addition, closures to protect interior Fraser steelhead will remove most of the fall chum opportunities for the seine, gillnet and gulf troll fleets.
....To date, most boats that are northern licensed have not made enough to cover expenses.
...On the south coast there are no fisheries expected until the fall.
A single licensed south coast boat has not made any money yet this season.
Most fishermen and allied workers will not even qualify for EI benefits.
The majority of fishermen live in rural communities. Over 50% are indigenous, fishing being the major employer in coastal First Nations’ communities. The impacts on rural fishing communities and coastal First Nation communities are severe....
This disaster is caused by climate change effects in the ocean and on land. Salmon are returning in numbers far lower than DFO’s 2019 predictions. Rivers are drying up or flooding. The Pacific Ocean is facing de-oxygenation, has a warm blob, is not producing feed or the wrong feed or some combination of these factors. Whatever the reason, the poor returns are not caused by inadequate escapements in brood years. They are not the fault of fishermen or shoreworkers....
Victims of climate change disasters across Canada have received assistance. Fishermen and allied workers need to be treated with the same compassion by our federal and provincial governments as forestry workers and ranchers impacted by forest fires, dairy farmers and homeowners affected by floods, or communities impacted by tornados or ice storms.
The UFAWU-Unifor is calling for disaster relief. We believe this is the worst fishing season in over 50 years.
....we hope you will be able to meet with us to discuss what provisions can be made available, in the short term, to those facing such a disastrous season. The Union would also like to initiate discussions about long term solutions to the problems caused to BC fisheries by ongoing climate changes.
A letter from Hon. Shane Simpson Provincial Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. He wrote to Minister Hajdu, the Federal Minister responsible for EI and he says:
" I am writing to encourage you to consider providing targeted assistance to this sector. The federal government has done this in several other cases, notably in assisting those affected by curtailments in Atlantic fisheries.
I strongly urge you to consider providing specific Employment Insurance enhancements aimed at assisting commercial fishers and shore workers in BC’s fisheries-dependant communities who will have little or no opportunity to fish this season."