The government of Alberta has apologized after over two dozen fish were seized from members of the Conklin Metis Community.
On September 14, Fish and Wildlife Officers received a report about an illegal fishing net in Christina Lake and the presence of a camp.
The following day, investigators attended the lake, found the camp which was occupied by 30 Metis individuals, but there was no sign of any net.
Indigenous Relations Minister Richard Feehan, who had visited the camp the day before the seizure occurred, issued a personal apology to the President of Metis Local 193, Shirley Tremblay and Vice President, Ernie Deserlias, via a media release.
“This was an unfortunate circumstance,” Feehan said. “I understand there may have been some issues with the licensing, but I think this situation could have been avoided. I commit that we will take steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
The group was found smoking 25 lake whitefish – which were seized and two members of the group were issued notices for not having a fishing license.
Feehan and Minister of Justice, Kathleen Ganley will be conducting a review of the policy, in the spirit of continuing ongoing reconciliation.
Feehan stressed the vitality these types experiences have on maintaining Metis Culture.
“I had a great time at the camp and truly enjoyed meeting with the residents,” he added. “These types of cultural experiences are very important in preserving Metis culture and I wouldn’t want to see that experience ruined.”
Over the course of the next few days, the Alberta government says it will work with community members to ensure appropriate licenses are being used.