Traditional Knowledge Study of Arctic Red and Mackenzie River Fisheries
Principal Investigator: Millar, Nathan P (7)
Licence Number: 13929
Organization: GRRB
Licenced Year(s): 2006
Issued: Jan 31, 2006
Project Team: Amy Thompson (Assistant Biologist, GRRB), Community assistant (to be determined) (Interview facilitator, local contact person, Tsiigehtchic community member)

Project Description: Gwich’in people living in Tsiigehtchic have fished for broad whitefish, lake whitefish, inconnu, and ciscoes along the Arctic Red and Mackenzie Rivers for generations. Today, fishing is still an important livelihood, and fish comprise a major food source. The proper management of these resources is, therefore, a priority in the community of Tsiighetchic. A five-year study completed by the Gwich’in Renewable Resource Board (GRRB) in 2002 on the Fort McPherson fisheries provided valuable baseline information on spawning populations of migratory fish in the Peel River drainage. Based on the success of the Peel River Fish Study and the knowledge gaps about fish stocks in other rivers, the GRRB is now planning similar studies for the Arctic Red River and for the portion of the Mackenzie River upstream of the Arctic Red River. Taken together, these three studies will establish baseline information for the major spawning stocks of migratory coregonids (whitefish, inconnu, and ciscoes) that are found in the Gwich’in Settlement Area. Furthermore, differences and commonalities among the stocks will be identified. This information is central to good fisheries management, and if, in the future, concerns arise about these stocks, the study can be repeated to detect and compare population trends.

In setting the stage for future netting index studies, a local knowledge study to collect information about fish resources in the Arctic Red and Mackenzie Rivers will be conducted. The study entails interviewing Tsiigehtchic Elders and fishers to gather information on species presence, the timing of runs and spawning, and the location of spawning sites. Study findings will be communicated to the Gwichya Gwich’in Renewable Resource Council (RRC) at one of their public monthly meetings. A copy of any publication (and its plain language version) or poster arising from the study will be provided to the RRC. Findings will be communicated to the larger Gwich’in community in meetings with other RRCs and the GRRB, and in report publications. Once the final report on the findings of the study is complete, access to information will adhere to guidelines stipulated by the GRRB and the Gwich’in Social and Cultural Institute.
The study will be conducted in Tsiigehtchic from February 1 to April 30, 2006.