A fisherman who was caught on video clubbing salmon and kicking them back into a northern B.C. river has been suspended by the local First Nation.
A video of the incident surfaces on social media Monday evening, creating outrage over disrespect for wildlife.
The unidentified man can be seen catching a number of fish with a net along the Bulkley River in Witset (formerly Moricetown) before bringing them higher up shore and clubbing them with some kind of mallet.
But instead of picking them up, he can be seen kicking them back into the water.
The Office of the Wet’suwet’en said the man has been spoken to.
“Our leaders were alerted this morning of this incident and Office of the Wet’suwet’en staff along with a Hereditary Chief, spoke with the individual and have dealt with the matter in our traditional way, and we do not expect this matter to arise again,” said the statement released by Chief Na’Moks (John Ridsdale) yesterday.
Na’Moks told the Interior News the process involved a meeting between himself, the individual, his chief and Wet’suwet’en Fisheries staff in which an explanation was demanded.
He said the panel found the explanation given, that the fisherman was in a hurry, was “not sound” and the man has been given instruction on respect for wildlife.
The fishery is currently focused on coho and chinook, Na’Moks explained and the man may have misidentified pinks only to realize it after the fact.
“I hope you understand that this is a very rare occurrence,” Na’Moks said. “We are taught to respect all animals. We need everyone to be accountable.”
As a further consequence, the individual in question will not be allowed to fish for the remainder of the year.
“The fisherman and his chief are deeply sorry, and hope this matter can be laid to rest,” Na’Moks said.
It may not be over, however. The B.C. Conservation Officer Service in Smithers said they received reports of the incident and an investigation has been opened.
The conservation service would not give any details on the specific case.