Initial discussions on expanding the Tsiigehtchic commercial fishing industry drew about 40 participants to a workshop in the community on March 1, 2017.
The workshop was initiated by Grace Blake, President of the Gwichya Gwich'in Council, and its economic arm, the Red River Development Corporation, who recognize commercial fishing as a means of economic development.
The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) was pleased to facilitate the opportunity and to present on GNWT programs that support commercial fishing.
“The main purpose was to hear from the people of Tsiigehtchic and determine whether there is interest and support for increasing commercial fishing to boost economic opportunities,” says Don Craik, Superintendent of ITI’s Beaufort Delta Regional Office.
“We’re still in the exploratory phase and there is no quick solution, but the feedback was encouraging and we’re looking forward to working with all partners to identify the best path forward.”
Following the successful workshop, it is anticipated that the community will wish to develop a Feasability Study to determine community buy-in and a plan on the best way to move forward.
Participants included representatives from Fisheries and Oceans, the Gwich’in Tribal Council, Inuvialuit Community Economic Development Organization (CEDO), NWT Fisherman’s Federation, Gwich’in Renewable Resource Board, Sam Bullock (formerly of Bullock’s Bistro and originally from Tsiigehtchic) along with local fishers, elders and youth.
The workshop comes on the heels of the launch of the NWT Commercial Fishing Strategy, which was released in Hay River earlier this week.
The Economic Opportunities Strategy, released in 2013, identified the business case for developing the NWT’s commercial fishing sector. The industry is also one of the ways the GNWT is working to diversify the economy, create local jobs and contribute to greater food security.