For the first time in 15 years, the Great Slave Lake Fishery has opened.
The GNWT anticipates that seven commercial fishing businesses will do businesses in this year’s winter fishery, mostly in either Yellowknife or Hay River.
“In time, our plan is to see new and year-round jobs in processing, packaging, selling and transporting NWT fish to market,” Caroline Wawzonek, the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Investment, said in a statement. “As well as new products including more opportunities for NWT residents to access fresh, healthy, locally-produced food.”
The businesses will get support for startup costs through a pilot program introduced by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment.
The pilot program will run for up to eight weeks and assist fishers with accessing winter-specific gear and equipment.
Hay River’s packing facility is reopening, and will receive and grade fish from commercial fishers in Yellowknife and Hay River. Then they will ship them to the federal Fresh Water Fish Marketing Corporation (FFMC) in Winnipeg, where they will be marketed and sold.
The GNWT is also partnering with Indigenous governments to train residents in working at the winter fishery.
Cameron Beaverbones, President, Tu’Cho’ Fishers Co-operative said a partnership with the GNWT will hopefully lead to a “Revitalized fishing industry” in the Northwest Territories.
“One of the steps that we must take is to secure a year-round supply of fresh Great Slave Lake fish for market,” Beaverbones said in a statement. “This requires that we invest in the revitalization of our winter fishery.”