First Nation considering lawsuit after diesel spill destroys clam beds

Salvage crews have removed more than 23,000 litres of diesel from a sunken tug on British Columbia’s central coast, but a local First Nation said Tuesday that the damage has already been done and a lawsuit could be on its way.

More than 60 per cent of the Heiltsuk First Nation’s clam beds were poisoned after a tug and barge unit ran aground in the Seaforth Channel last Thursday, leaving many members of the remote community without an income-earning activity for the upcoming season. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has shut down shellfish harvesting in the region due to pollution, and Chief Marilyn Slett said her community may very well seek compensation from the American company responsible for the disaster and the Government of Canada as well.

Clam harvesting was scheduled to begin in roughly three weeks, she added, and typically rakes in roughly $150,000 in annual income for the small First Nation in Bella Bella, B.C.

Published October 19, 2016

Last modified on June 25, 2018