THE UPPER FRASER FISHERIES CONSERVATION ALLIANCE is made up of culturally and linguistically distinct Peoples living throughout the Central Interior of what is now known as British Columbia.
Long ago we established and protected our respective territories near the salmon rich Fraser River and its tributaries. Since time immemorial our territories sustained hunting, fishing, gathering, trading, cultural and settlement uses.
Upon the arrival of the British Empire and its eventual successor, Canada, colonial legislation was enacted and enforced which forbade Aboriginal fishing, except for food purposes. This of course benefited the emerging marine based commercial fishery. Not surprisingly, conflicts occurred over the years, including various legal challenges.
In 1982, Section 35 of the newly signed Canadian Constitution recognized and affirmed “Aboriginal and Treaty Rights,” which provided a measure of protection for First Nations against infringement by the State. Then, in 1992, the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed in Sparrow that the Crown had a fiduciary responsibility with respect to Aboriginal Rights in general, and specifically to Aboriginal Fishing Rights. As a result, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) created its Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy (AFS). Numerous Upper Fraser River First Nations signed an AFS agreement.
In 2001, as a result of their dissatisfaction with the Fraser Watershed Process, the Upper Fraser River First Nations formed an informal coalition called the Upper Fraser Fisheries Conservation Alliance (UFFCA or " Alliance"). Over time, the Alliance adopted a mission statement with several goals, all with an emphasis on watershed management and technical objectives, as opposed to political ones. By 2004, the Alliance completed its "Strategic Plan for a Watershed Based Approach to Facilitating First Nations’ Co-Management of the Anadromous Resources of the Upper Fraser Watershed”. In early 2005, the Alliance submitted a proposal to DFO’s Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management (AAROM) Program. As of March 2004, the Alliance became a Society under the B.C. Society Act. This has allowed the Alliance to receive funds from the AAROM program for start-up costs.
One Alliance priority is the achievement of a multi-year AAROM funding agreement with DFO in order to continue working towards and achieve its far-reaching goals.