Continued Radio-Tracking of Broad Whitefish (Coregonus nasus) in the Travaillant Lake System, Northwest Territories
Principal Investigator: Harris, Les (3)
Licence Number: 13828
Organization: Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board
Licenced Year(s): 2005 2004
Issued: Jun 07, 2005
Project Team: Kimberly Howland (DFO), Dave Gardlund (GRRB), Jari Heikkila (GRRB)

Project Description: In this study, researchers will use helicopters and radio telemetry to identify the seasonal movement patterns of Travaillant Lake broad whitefish, and their use of specific habitats and critically important areas such as those used for spawning, rearing and overwintering. For the management of fish and fisheries in the face of industrial development and exploration, it is essential to collect such information that will allow for the protection of critical habitats and for the post-development monitoring of potential changes in fish populations and fish behavior.

In 2004, fifty mature broad whitefish, captured in the Travaillant Lake system, were surgically implanted with radio transmitters. The researchers will use aerial tracking techniques to survey the Travaillant Lake system in attempt to relocate these previously radio-tagged fish. Upon relocation, the exact position of the radio-tagged fish will be marked with a GPS unit, and subsequently mapped using ArcView GIS 3.1. In attempt to reduce the total study area, fixed receiving stations will be strategically placed on the Travaillant River. These stations will be visited in conjunction with every aerial tracking flight and the recorded data will be uploaded onto a laptop computer.

The results of the study will be communicated in a report published by the Gwich'in Renewable Resource Board. The researchers will also prepare a plain-language summary of their findings.

Tsiigehtchic and Inuvik community members will be hired as field assistants for the duration of this study and will be trained in radio telemetry techniques. Funding permitted, the researchers will also hire youth as part of the Gwich’in Youth Experience Program to accompany research personnel on many of the tracking flights.
This study will be conducted throughout the Travaillant Lake system from July 1 to November 30, 2005.