Fish stocks in the Northwest Territories are harvested for subsistence, commercial and recreational use.
The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment participates with the Fresh Water Fish Marketing Corporation to promote international markets for Northwest Territories fish products – increasing trade and returns to both fishers and the Great Slave Lake fishery.
Fisheries are particularly important to residents of smaller communities in the NWT where the subsistence catch makes a crucial contribution to a healthy diet and commercial harvests offer an opportunity for cash in communities where income-earning opportunities are limited.
The Northwest Territories commercial fishing sector is largely concentrated on Great Slave Lake. While many freshwater species are found in the lake, export-grade whitefish is the most dominant.
The fishery relies on the Industry Support System Program delivered by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment to offset a portion operations and maintenance costs and capital replacement.
This support is provided through the Fishermen’s Federation in Hay River - the representative body for the Great Slave Lake commercial fishing industry.