Giant Mine – 2021 Large Bodied Fish Tissue Program
Principal Investigator: Markey, Andrea (1)
Licence Number: 16864
Organization: Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
Licensed Year(s): 2021
Issued: Jul 19, 2021
Project Team: Andrea Markey, Tamara Darwish, Hilary Machtans, Justine Crowe, Bryce Pippy, Edward Hunt, Dylan Cook, Sarah Beattie, Kevin Rattray, Harrison Robertson, Nathan Hoeve, Tamara Derkowski, Anna-Maija LaFlamme, Shakita Maclennan-Jensen, Domi Diaz, Sophia Merritt, Joe Marquardson, Various Field Assistants

Objective(s): To update the dataset for large-bodied fish tissue chemistry in the area; and to collect non-lethal structures from fish that are already being lethally sampled to determine whether non-lethally sampled fish tissue is appropriate for monitoring arsenic concentrations in fish for future GMRP monitoring.

Project Description: This licence has been issued for the scientific research application No.5013.

The main objective of the 2021 Giant Mine Large Bodied Fish Tissue Program is to update the dataset for large-bodied fish tissue chemistry in the area. The fish survey will focus on fish species that are thought to be frequently consumed by people in the area. This work is to supplement baseline data for Aquatic Effects Monitoring Program and to support future Fisheries Act Authorization requirements for Fisheries and Oceans Canada for the Giant Mine Remediation Project (GMRP). A secondary objective is to collect non-lethal structures from fish that are already being lethally sampled to determine whether non-lethally sampled fish tissue is appropriate for monitoring arsenic concentrations in fish for future GMRP monitoring.

Large-bodied fish will be sampled in Northern Yellowknife Bay, Yellowknife Bay and Back Bay. Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush), Lake Whitefish (Coregonus lupeaformis), and Northern Pike (Esox Lucius) are the target species for fish collected in Great Slave Lake. A maximum of ten fish of each species will be collected to updated information on the fish tissue quality of edible fish around Giant Mine. Fish will be captured by angling and gill netting. Community involvement is expected in the form of either or both First Nation staff from Golder Associates or other community assistants and advisors. The timing is expected to be summer 2021.

Non-lethal tissue structures will also be collected from fish that are already being lethally sampled during the planned Giant Mine Large Bodied Fish Tissue Program, and from fish that were previously lethally sampled by other research programs and archived. Arsenic concentrations in hard tissues (i.e., scales and fin clips) will be measured and compared to arsenic concentrations in soft tissue (i.e., muscle filets and tissue plugs) to determine if a predictive relationship between lethal and non-lethal structures can be established. Based on the analysis and conclusions of this study, further recommendations will be developed regarding whether non-lethally sampled fish tissues are appropriate for monitoring arsenic concentrations in fish for future GMRP monitoring

The study design and results will be provided to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board for posting to the public registry. The Giant Mine Remediation Project also communicates regularly through the Giant Mine Aquatic Advisory Committee, which is comprised of Yellowknife Dene First Nation members, North Slave Metis Alliance First Nation members, City of Yellowknife, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Health Canada. As well, the Giant Mine team communicates to the Giant Mine Working Group which includes interested community groups and First Nations.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 19, 2021 to September 30, 2021.