Reallocating a Regional Fishery Resource: Restoring Aboriginal Fisheries on the Upper Skeena, British Columbia


"The discussion in this paper will focus on two major considerations that need to be addressed In assessing the Gitksan-Wet'suwet'en claim. One is the question of equity. This involves exploration of the historical basis for the Gitksan-Wet'suwet'en claim to a larger share of the Skeena salmon resource than is currently available to them. It also concerns the implications of any reallocation of current harvest entitlements, with respect to claims for compensation by other user groups which may be disadvantaged by the reallocation. What is 'equitable,' of course, in the final analysis is a matter of subjective judgment. However, given that there are some widely held common notions of equity, the facts of the case may be left to speak for themselves. "The other major consideration to be explored is that of the overall economic consequences of a reallocation in favor of the Gitksan-Wet'suwet'en. Much will depend on the nature of the management regime that will be developed in implementing the reallocation. The paper will explore opportunities to use the implied changes in harvesting patterns to improve sustainable catches and net returns. I have neither the extensive data base nor the time and resources necessary to carry out an exhaustive cost-benefit analysis that would be required for refined estimates. However, enough general information is available on the fishery to allow some general conclusions to be drawn on the basis of informed speculation."



fisheries, indigenous institutions, common pool resources, rivers, IASC