Fish are an important resource and constitute a large part of the Gwich’in subsistence economy. Fish are significant for traditional, commercial and recreational activities.
There are many important species locally such as whitefish (Coregonus nasus), coney (Stenodus leucichthys), char (Salvelinus malma), loche (Lota lota) and crookedback (Coregonus clupeaformis). At the local level, there is a concern about the future of Dolly Varden charr.
Going FIshing in the GSA?
NWT Fishing Regulations
If you will be angling in the Gwich’in Settlement Area (GSA), you will first need your NWT Sport Fishing Licence, issued by Department of Environment and Natural Resources, NWT. All anglers must abide by the NWT Fishing Regulations.
For a complete version, visit Northwest Territories Fishery Regulations.
Gwich’in Private Lands
In addition to the NWT Fishing Regulations, sport fishing in the GSA is subject to the terms and conditions of the Gwich’in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (GCLCA). Permission is required to access Gwich’in Private Lands (28% of surface lands in the GSA). These lands are located throughout the GSA (all shaded areas in the map). Though recreational fishing on many portions of Gwich’in Private Lands is permitted, fishing is restricted in some portions (e.g., near Gwich’in cabins or traditional fishing areas).
- Day-use of Gwich’in Private Lands
Notify the Renewable Resource Council in the community closest to where you will be fishing. The RRC will have additional information on where fishing is permitted.
- Camping on Gwich’in Private Lands
First, notify the appropriate Renewable Resource Council (as above). Second, obtain a camping permit from the Gwich’in Land Administration.
Special Lands in the GSA
Fishermen are also asked to be aware of Conservation Zones, Heritage Conservation Zones and Special Management Zones. These areas are important harvesting, conservation, and heritage areas for the Gwich’in and should be treated with respect. For more information on these areas, please contact the appropriate Renewable Resource Council or the Gwich’in Land Use Planning Board.
For the particulars of which parcels of land are off-limits please consult the Gwich’in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (GCLCA). The sections that are pertinent to recreational fishermen are Volume I: Section 20.2.2, and Volume 2: Appendix F, schedules IX and X. Non-Gwich’in have the right to use navigable waters, portages, and waterfront lands associated with Gwich’in Private Lands for travel by water or for recreation. The exceptions to this are listed in the GCLCA.