A more proactive approach is needed to protect B.C. salmon according to First Nations leaders.

Local First Nations Chief Aaron Sam hopes he and other chiefs of Nlaka’pamux communities will be meeting with the federal minister of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) this month after sharing some concerns with ministry staff in August.

“We feel that we need to work more proactively with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to take real steps to protect our salmon, including sockeye,” said Sam.

Sam told the Herald the chiefs aired their concerns to DFO representatives regarding smaller salmon runs and dwindling sockeye numbers along with the need for more conservation and better management of fisheries in general.

“They didn’t say that much, and that’s why we want to sit down with the minister,” said Sam.

He saids they hope to schedule a meeting with DFO minister Dominic LeBlanc this month to discuss these issues further.

“Generally, the Department of Fisheries [and Oceans] manages salmon and other species on their own with some First Nations input, but there isn’t any shared management,” said Sam.