Spatial and long-term trends in persistent organic contaminants and metals in lake trout and burbot from the Northwest Territories

Regions: Sahtu Settlement Area, South Slave Region

Tags: contaminants, fisheries assessment, fish health, mercury, metals, organic contaminants

Principal Investigator: Evans, Marlene (38)
Licence Number: 14046
Organization: Environment Canada
Licenced Year(s): 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004
Issued: Aug 02, 2006
Project Team: Dr. Derek Muir (Environment Canada), Jonathan Keating (Environment Canada), Patrick Simon (Akaitcho Territory Government), Monica Krieger (Lutsel K'e Dene Band), Wilfred Lennie (Tulita RRC), George Low (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)

Project Description: The Northern Contaminants Program (NCP) calls for monitoring of contaminant trends. Lake trout are the fish most commonly consumed and harvested. Studies are showing that contaminants such as PCBs and DDT are declining in lake trout in Great Slave Lake. Burbot liver will also be examined as part of this study because contaminant levels can be high in this organ, and contaminant levels are not declining in this species. The focus of analysis is on contaminants such as PCBs, DDT, toxaphene and mercury but the presence of new compounds of concern will also be monitored. The NCP program also calls for additional lakes to be sampled with a focus on lake trout and mercury. Length, age, weight, lipid (fat) content, and sex are being determined for each fish along with stable isotope measures of feeding.

Community members will be hired to collect fish for the research, and the fish will be sent to Saskatoon for processing. From the West Basin of Great Slave Lake, 20 burbot will be collected by community members from Fort Resolution, and 20 lake trout will be collected by the Hay River commercial fishery during their normal fishing activities. Community members from Lutsel K’e will collect 20 lake trout from the East Arm of Great Slave Lake. Community members of Tulita will collect 20 lake trout from Kelly Lake during their normal fishing activities. All fish will be captured using gill nets or by angling. Communities will be kept informed of the progress of the study through reports and possible community visits.
The study will be conducted from August 2 to December 31, 2006 at Great Slave Lake in the East Arm near Lutsel K’e (62° 25.114’ N, 110° 50.059’ W), in the West Basin near Fort Resolution (61° 04.926’ N, 113° 55.713’ W) and Hay River (60° 59.053' N, 115° 46.442' W), and at Kelly Lake (65° 22.768' N, 126° 04.749' W) near Norman Wells.