West Coast of Vancouver Island, Canada

The Nuu-chah-nulth Continue to Fight for Their Aboriginal Fishing Rights Even After These Rights Were Recognized in Ahousaht et al vs Canada (2009)

West Coast of Vancouver Island, Canada

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View the CCRN’s Nuu-chah-nulth Community Story as a PDF

Since time immemorial, the Nuu-chah-nulth people have occupied the lands and waters of the west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada. Before contact with Europeans, Nuu-chah-nulth communities depended on hunting, fishing, and gathering the abundant aquatic resources that thrive in the ocean, inlets, bays and rivers. However, European settlement and the introduction of Canadian fisheries policies, led to a drastic reduction in Nuu-chah-nulth participation in Vancouver Island’s west coast fisheries. To address this, Nuu-chah-nulth Nations filed a Writ of Summons against Canada and British Columbia seeking recognition of their Aboriginal fishing rights. This recognition was granted in the 2009 court decision Ahousaht et al vs. Canada. Today, the five Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations are negotiating with Canada to design Aboriginal rights-based fisheries that exemplify conservation in their design; they are small-scale fisheries, not heavily capitalized or intensive industrial fisheries.


A short documentary on fishing rights and traditional livelihoods among the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations.