Northern Fishing

Ashley Bear

Importance of Fishing and Best Practices in Northern Saskatchewan!

Fishing has been practiced for many years in Northern Saskatchewan—recreationally, commercially, and for sustenance. Personally, as a Treaty 6 person from Stanley Mission, Saskatchewan, I have been fishing since I was a kid and have seen people wasting fish and littering. There needs to be awareness for people who fish about only keeping what they and their family are going to eat, which is the meaning of sustenance. We need to be able to sustain the fish as long we can for our kids, grandkids and for many generations. The purpose of this project was to identify the importance of fishing in Northern Saskatchewan, how has it evolved through the years, and best practices for exercising First Nation treaty rights to fish. Three interviews were conducted with residents from Stanley Mission and La Ronge, Saskatchewan who have some similarities and differences in their fishing backgrounds. A compilation from these three interviews will be displayed in a video, showing the importance of fishing and key lessons on fishing practices for people of Northern Saskatchewan. The final video will also be shared with Stanley Mission High school students.

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  1. Nice work! This is a great way to preserve some of the oral history surrounding fishing practices in Northern Saskatchewan. If you had more time and resources, how would you expand upon this project?

    1. Hi Jay, thanks for the comment. If I had more time and resources I would definitely expand the number of interviews to get more perspectives on fishing and would find someone with better video making expertise to help me with this, this was my first video I made.

  2. I enjoyed your video, and the imagery you used was really great. There seemed to be some potential divergence of opinion perhaps on healthy fishing practices (taking what is needed, and commercial fisheries). Do the commercial fisheries in your community or other communities in northern SK market themselves as ‘sustainable’?

    1. Hi Colin,
      That’s a good question, I never asked if commercial fishermen viewed themselves as ‘sustainable’ but I know with this only being the only fish plant in the la ronge region, that the commercial fishing license that they posses has rules and quotas that they must abide by in order to keep the commercial fishing license. So I would think Conservation Officers in the area are well aware of this fish plant, and they continue to run the business year after year and that they are following the rules given in there fishing license. And with few commercial fishermen in the area, surrounded by many lakes that I think it is still important for the livelihood for the fishermen to provide a income as long as they follow the rules given with the commercial fishing license.
      Hope that makes sense.
      Thanks for the comment and watching my video!

  3. This is a really interesting project that uses history as an important tool for uncovering and understanding what sustainability means (could mean) to Indigenous peoples in the north.
    One thing that really jumped out at me watching the video is how sustenance/eating what you catch and livelihoods/selling/trading fish are very entangled. Indeed, the dichotomy between the categories of “fish for food” and “fish to sell/trade” have long been artificial categories imposed by the colonial state to restrict Indigenous people from competing with non-Indigenous fishers (commercial or recreational).
    Do you think handing over jurisdiction and resource management rights to local First Nations, rather than have the provincial government continue to manage them, improve the potential to create a sustainable fishery?
    Thanks for a really important and informative video!

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