Diavik Fish Palatability & Metals Program

Regions: North Slave Region, South Slave Region

Tags: biology, fish, traditional food, metals

Principal Investigator: English, Colleen J (1)
Licence Number: 14593
Organization: Diavik Diamond Mines Inc.
Licensed Year(s): 2012 2009 2003
Issued: Aug 20, 2009
Project Team: Andrew Muir (Program Lead, Golder - Fisheries Biologist), Yet to be determined (Participant, Various Aboriginal parties (see below))

Objective(s): The purpose of the study is to have Aboriginal participation in monitoring programs at the Diavik site; to assess the quality of fish for eating – records of fish taste, smell and texture from fish caught in Lac de Gras; collection of fish tissue samples to analyze for metals concentrations; collection of fish otoliths to determine age of fish; focus on sampling fish of similar size/age in order to facilitate comparison between past years; and contribute to the development of a data set to monitor metal levels in fish over time in Lac de Gras.

Project Description: The purpose of the study is to have Aboriginal participation in monitoring programs at the Diavik site; to assess the quality of fish for eating – records of fish taste, smell and texture from fish caught in Lac de Gras; collection of fish tissue samples to analyze for metals concentrations; collection of fish otoliths to determine age of fish; focus on sampling fish of similar size/age in order to facilitate comparison between past years; and contribute to the development of a data set to monitor metal levels in fish over time in Lac de Gras.

Fish collection will primarily be conducted using nets set out on 2 different areas in Lac de Gras. If deemed acceptable by Aboriginal participants, there is a possibility that angling may be conducted to catch fish. Upon collection of fish from the nets, fish will be taken to a tent camp area that Diavik has on the south shore of Lac de Gras. Here, fish will be filleted and necessary tissue and organ samples and otoliths will be obtained from 10 fish for scientific analysis. These same fish will be identified for cooking and tasting, in addition to the other fish caught. Four cooking methods are used to assess fish taste and texture: cooking over an open fire, boiling, baking and pan frying the fish.

An invitation has been distributed to the North Slave Metis Alliance, Kitikmeot Inuit Association, Tli'Cho, Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation and Yellowknives Dene First Nation to request 2 participants from each party (as well as an opportunity for a translator, if required) to participate in the study and assist with fishing, sampling and tasting.

A summary report will be completed and sent to each of the Aboriginal parties upon completion of the program. Diavik also visits communities each year to provide updates on all monitoring programs and results from this study will be included in these updates.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from August 20 to 24, 2009, on Lac de Gras (Latitude: 64°30'41", Longitude: 110°17'23").