Spatial and long-term trends in persistent organic contaminants and metals in fish from the Northwest Territories

Regions: Sahtu Settlement Area, Dehcho Region, South Slave Region

Tags: contaminants, mercury, fish, fish health, burbot, lake trout, organic contaminants

Principal Investigator: Evans, Marlene S. (50)
Licence Number: 16888
Organization: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Licensed Year(s): 2022 2021
Issued: Sep 07, 2021
Project Team: Derek Muir, Richard Simon, Diane Giroux, Ray Griffith, Patrick Riley, Mike Low, Glen Guthrie, Deborah Simmons

Objective(s): To investigate whether contaminant levels are changing in fish in the Northwest Territories with a focus on Great Slave Lake which we have been studying since the early 1990s.

Project Description: This licence has been issued for the scientific research application No.5031.

The study is continuing to investigate whether contaminant levels are changing in fish in the Northwest Territories with a focus on Great Slave Lake which we have been studying since the early 1990s. The research team plans to collect lake trout from Great Slave Lake (Hay River area and Lutsel K’e area and also plans to collect burbot from the Lutsel K’e and Fort Resolution areas of Great Slave Lake, and northern pike from the Fort Resolution area of Great Slave Lake. The team will also investigate mercury concentrations in Sahtu Lakes with GNWT Health asking to have Kelly Lake revisited and Fort Good Hope Lac a Jacques.

All fish will be captured using gill nets or by angling. The sample will involve 20 burbot and 20 northern pike will be collected from the Fort Resolution area of Great Slave by the community, 20 lake trout will be collected from the Hay River area of Great Slave Lake by a commercial fisherman, 20 lake trout and 20 burbot will be collected from the Lutsel K’e area of Great Slave Lake by the community, 20 lake trout and 20 northern pike will be collected from Kelly Lake by Tulita community members, 20 walleye and 20 northern pike will be collected from Lac a Jacques by Fort Good Hope community members.

There is a commitment to regular contact with community members by telephone and email from NCP proposal submission, NCP report submission, obtaining fish for analyses, and discussing results. Copies of the proposal and annual report are provided to the community organizations. The team has also been developing simple posters of the mercury results which have been well received. Marlene was unable to travel last winter due to the pandemic, but hopes to have a chance to travel this fiscal year. Marlene has had a CIMP proposal funded for work in the Mackenzie River between Fort Good Hope and Tulita and will maintain contact with the communities based also on that study.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from September 4, 2021 to December 31, 2021.