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From Oolichan Monitoring to Culture Camps: A Year with the Haisla Fisheries Commission

The Haisla Fisheries Commission released its annual report detailing the wide range of activities its crew conducts over the course of a year. From stock assessments to food fish distribution, it’s all in a year’s work. Photo courtesy Haisla Fisheries Commission.

Conducting salmon and oolichan monitoring and stock assessment, receiving Marine Advance First Aid Training, undertaking a culture camp for Haisla youth, renovating cabins, and dispersing herring roe on kelp to community members—it’s all in a year’s work for the Haisla Fisheries Commission.

In mid-March, the Fisheries Commission released its 2018/19 annual report highlighting the numerous activities undertaken by the small team out of Kitamaat Village.

Throughout the year, fisheries manager Mike Jacobs and his team spend countless hours in Haisla territories stewarding the lands, waters, and resources of the Haisla Nation. This past year, that work included:

Oolichan Monitoring

The first research projects began in the spring with an oolichan monitoring program on the Kitimat, Kildala, and Kemano Rivers. In 2018, oolichans were confirmed within all three river systems, with the Kemano River exhibiting the largest return. However, this year’s Kemano run was substantially less than those observed in 2015, 2016, and 2017. The discovery of oolichan in the Kildala River was an exciting find, pointing toward a need for continued research, protection, and recovery planning.

Youth Culture Camp

The Haisla Culture Camp preparations began in May 2018. This was a huge undertaking and the Haisla Fisheries crew along with the Haisla Health Department were an integral part of the two 2018 Cultural Camps held in July.  Crew activities included clearing the area, building a new platform, day-to-day planning and preparation, and transporting equipment, and clean-up. Two crew were on site for the camp and others transported guests to the site.

Read more about the Haisla Culture Camps

Salmon Stock Assessments

The Haisla Fisheries Commission was able to meet or exceed program expectations for stock assessments. The 2018 assessments show a significant decline with all species of salmon in Haisla territory. Mid-August there was a huge debris jam at Evelyn Creek which stranded the sockeye from making it to their spawning ground. With the help of Stan Hutchings, the Haisla Fisheries crew were able to make a path so the endangered salmon could make it to the creek and spawn.

Drought conditions challenged salmon throughout the north coast in 2018. DNA sampling was also one of the Fisheries Commission projects and collections occurred to help identify Coho from the Brim and Wahoo River conservation units under the Wild Salmon Policy Implementation Plan.

These are just a few of the many project the Haisla Fisheries Commission conducted in the 2018/2019 season. Read their full annual report to find out more about the wonderful work the team is doing.

In 2018/19 Coast Funds approved funding for $150,000 toward the operations of the Haisla Fisheries Commission. To see all Coast Funds-approved projects visit our approved projects page.