Commercial Fishery Revitalization


The GNWT recognizes that the NWT fishing industry faces many challenges. In the past decade, the NWT commercial export fishery has declined substantially. Production is less than half of historical levels. Rebuilding the Great Slave Lake commercial fishery will take time and investment.

There is also recognition that investing these resources can play an important role in fostering a strong diverse economy for the benefit of all NWT residents. 

To this end, the GNWT has developed a strategy designed to guide investment and support of this industry. This is in-line with GNWT Mandate item 1.2.4, which states: 

“...finalize and implement the Commercial Fisheries Revitalization Strategy to increase fish production, encourage and mentor new entrants to the Great Slave Lake fishery, negotiate an agreement with the Fresh Water Fish Marketing Corporation to access markets outside of NWT, seek federal funding to build a new fish processing plant in Hay River, and work with the Tu Cho Co-operative to promote and market fish caught in Great Slave Lake.”


The Strategy for Revitalizing the Great Slave Lake Commercial Fishery (Revitalization Strategy) describes steps, actions and investments, to be implemented over a five-year period, to restore the NWT’s once-powerful Great Slave Lake commercial fishery.

It balances the need to develop and expand both NWT domestic and export markets for processed Great Slave Lake fish products (fresh and frozen filets).

To meet anticipated demand, a new or refurbished plant, compliant with federal fish inspection regulations, is proposed for Hay River.


The Revitalization Strategy considers seven focus areas:

  • Adding value to the NWT economy
  • Expanding the NWT market for GSL fish products
  • Restarting the remote and winter fisheries
  • Increasing participation in the GSL fishery
  • Accessing export markets
  • Aligning subsidy programs to the revitalization strategy’s goals
  • Empowering fishers to make decisions to develop a viable fishery

25 recommended actions are presented in the interest of advancing four overarching strategic goals:

  • Increasing Lake Production
  • Increasing Processing in the NWT
  • Growing the NWT Market
  • Accessing Export Markets

Learn more

The full strategy is available for download. The file is below. Get in touch with your regional office if you would like a hardcopy.