Salmon and Indigenous fisheries

Through consultation, cooperative management and stewardship activities, we work with Indigenous people to build strong, healthy relationships and sustainable fisheries.

Salmon have been a staple of Indigenous communities on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts for generations. The archaeological record indicates that many permanent village sites were situated adjacent to the main salmon producing streams or rivers, and that salmon were central to Indigenous communities in terms of culture, trade and sustenance. Salmon continues to be an important resource in Indigenous communities today.

In 1992, we initiated the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy in response to a Supreme Court ruling which affirmed the right of First Nations people to fish for food, social and ceremonial (FSC) purposes.

Today, FSC fisheries have first priority to access fish after conservation. Harvest opportunities are developed through consultation with Indigenous communities, and then authorized via a communal licence. The community, in turn, may issue designations to individual members, authorizing them to fish for the group. Many Indigenous people also participate in commercial fisheries.

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