Fisheries and Wildlife
Wet’suwet’en Fisheries Program Goals and objectives
The Wet’suwet’en Fisheries team is dedicated to the stewardship and sustainable management of the fisheries resources within the Wet’suwet’en territory.
Manage salmon stocks so that conservations needs for Chinook, Coho, pink, sockeye and steelhead are met,
To ensure the stocks are sufficient to meet food and cultural needs
To gain economic benefits from stocks that can support a commercial fishery.
The following objectives will guide Wet'suwet'en Fisheries activities towards these goals:
Carry out activities that enable management of the stocks:
Gather data that enables us to make responsible decisions regarding fish management for salmon (Chinook, Coho, pink, sockeye and steelhead), as well as other species such as trout, char and lamprey eels.
Identify stocks within each species by collecting DNA from species.
Develop population estimates by carrying out a mark and recapture project
Determine run timing of each species and stock through various fisheries
Determine Wet’suwet’en food fishery impacts on fish stocks by gathering accurate catch data in Moricetown Canyon
Determine impact of other user groups’ impact on fish stocks by obtaining catch data from other groups including:
Other First Nation food fisheries
Estimate spawning escapement through:
Over-flights of spawning areas
Develop harvest plans prioritized by:
Food, cultural and ceremonial needs
Obtain Wet’suwet’en support regarding fisheries plans, including:
Moricetown Canyon Committee
Office of the Wet’suwet’en
Communities through meetings
Publish reports through meetings,, reports, newsletters and media
Enforce regulations for First Nation food and commercial fisheries to:
Protect weak stocks
Prevent overfishing of all stocks by preventing illegal commercial fisheries
Address community concerns regarding health and safety issues within Moricetown Canyon
Enforce ESSR fisheries to ensure DFO’s sales conditions are followed
Protect fish habitat by:
Identifying spawning and rearing areas in conjunction with the Natural Resource Departments mapping system.
Reviewing land use referrals for impact on fish habitat
Conducting stream walks to monitor fish habitat
Gather water quality data in the upper Morice watershed
Make sure fisheries resources are allocated fairly and equitably among the Wet’suwet’en communities, especially:
Participate in processes that may impact fish stocks
Skeena Fisheries Technical Committee, a organization with representatives from FN organizations in the Skeena watershed, whose purpose is to address issues that may affect all FN in the watershed.
First Nations Fisheries Council, a Province wide organization for aboriginal fisheries
Develop allegiances that enhance our goals and objectives
Skeenawild Conservation Trust
Coastal commercial fishermen
Lake Babine FN and Gitxsan Watershed Authority
The Program is funded by Fisheries and Oceans Canada for $441,000.00 per year through the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy. An Additional $95,000.00 was secured for the Coho and sockeye tagging project.
Walter Joseph, Fisheries Manager
Gary Michell, Ranger
Brian Michell, Fisheries Technologist
Plus 20 seasonal workers