The Haida Traditional Food Fishery program, which has been operating at increased capacity this summer, is now closing for the season. Last summer the Council of the Haida Nation purchased and distributed 6,676 pounds of halibut and 8,067 pounds of salmon from 31 registered Haida fishers through this program. This year, that number increased with over 50 fishers registered.
The program gives fishers the opportunity to earn income to offset the cost of gathering food for their families. CHN purchases the fish and then donates and distributes it to community causes – CHN does not resell the fish
“I think it’s a good program. I’ve been involved in the mosquito fleet for years, long before this program came up,” said veteran fisherman, Glayga Oliver Bell. “It’s an amazing program, because I think it’s so important for people to be able to get out on the water. It gives them the opportunity to get fishing experience and it’s a great program for people who are just starting out.”
Haida citizens, 16 years or older, only have to acquire a Right-to-Access card and register at the Haida Fisheries Program office to participate. Vessels must be Haida owned and operated and measure between 16 and 26 feet and must be equipped in accordance with the nation’s suggested list of safety equipment. Those guidelines are also available at the Haida Fisheries office.
“The increase in catch and participation tells me that the community supports and needs this program, and we continually monitor and make in-season adjustments to improve the fishery,“ said program manager, Brad Setso.
The program is finished for this year but Haida Fisheries expects to offer the program again next year and see even more citizens.