‘Namgis has closed the river to fishing for several years now, due to concerns for our sockeye stocks. In the past few years, due to the decline in sockeye returns, we have had Cultural Fishing Days at Gwa’ni (Nimpkish River.) We do this to assert our jurisdiction over our river, exercise our right to catch fish for food, to bring together our community, and to catch a few salmon to feed our people.
This fishery happens in coordination with the ‘Namgis Council, ‘Namgis Administration, Natural Resources staff, and most importantly, volunteers from our community. We coordinate with Gwa’ni Hatchery staff, to decide what the allowable catch is based on data from our DIDSON counter. The DIDSON uses sonar to record video of passing fish, and counts are done daily from these videos to determine the total number of fish that have gone up-river.
Fishing is done by beach seine, pulled in by hand (this is why the volunteers are so important) by everyone who attends. Each person who helps to pull the net on a fishing day, will receive a sockeye on that day for volunteering their time and energy to support our community.
Distribution is done the same day by truck, to Alert Bay addresses. If you live on Cormorant Island and you are indigenous, you are automatically on the distribution list. If you have moved within the last 12 months and have not updated ‘Namgis we do not have your name, please call the fisheries staff at the band office to update your information. Every year we start with elders, each elder will get one Nimpkish Sockeye, due to time constraints on our volunteers and staff, some will be frozen if the delivery can not be made on the same day as the catch. Due to unpredictable catch, this may take a few fishing days. Every elder will receive one fish for certain, nobody will be missed, we will visit the elders missed early on again, and again until they get their sockeye. Elders include every indigenous person on Cormorant Island 65 and over, regardless of which band they are a member of. Once the elders have been visited at least once, we will start delivery to the rest of the community. Again we will start with one Nimpkish Sockeye per household, and as catch changes we will re-evaluate our delivery numbers and potentially houses will get multiple fish. Every indigenous house will get at least one sockeye before the end of the season.
Distribution is done by truck so that we can be certain that each elder and each household is delivered to. This includes signing for delivery, door hangers to inform people who weren’t home that we visited, delivery routes for each vehicle and repeat visits until we can deliver the fish caught to all indigenous households. If you need your fish delivered to a location other than your listed address, please contact the Fisheries staff at the Band Office. The delivery routes start at different sections of the island and go along assigned routes, they will attempt delivery to each elder, and each house multiple times during the fishery.
This fishery could not happen without volunteers from our community giving their time to help us all.
‘Namgis Contact Information: Toll Free: 888-962-6447 | Tel: 250-974-5556 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org