Commercial Fishing

Commercial fishing on Great Slave Lake has been a mainstay of the South Slave economy since the 1950s when the fishery was developed to supply export markets.

And, while the NWT’s commercial fishery has declined, the natural wealth of fish in the lake remains. The Government of the Northwest Territories is working with a variety of partners to rejuvenate the Great Slave Lake Fishing sector and to restore its contributions to the NWT economy.

A thriving fishery will mean a renewed livelihood for fishers all around the lake.

Commercial fisher Shawn Buckley and his Bombardier

The GNWT’s plan is to transform the existing fishery; and expand its scope to supply domestic, commercial and export markets with - not only whole fish - but value-added fish products and related by-products in a variety of forms.

The GNWT’s strategy will give NWT producers greater returns, and a stronger say in their industry.  

Longstanding NWT fishers will be offered the resources and capital requirements they need to update their operations.

To increase the number of fishers on the lake, training programs will focus on young fishers; and incentives will be provided to attract new fishers to relocate their operations to Great Slave Lake. 

Investments will be made to expand the NWT market for Great Slave Lake fish. New sales and distribution agreements will be sought for Great Slave Lake fish in provincial and international markets.

Increased collection points will ensure producers can access the full potential of the lake – and a renewed winter fishery will help meet increased demand and the need for year-round supply.

Foundational to this revitalization plan is the establishment of a new state-of-the-art processing facility in Hay River capable of processing and packaging fish for market.