A regulatory change to the NWT Fishery Regulations has limited the variety of fish one can retain when sport fishing within 100m of the centerline of the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk highway.
The 2019-20 Northwest Territories Sport Fishing Regulations Guide Fishing outlined that – as of April 2019 – a daily catch and possession limit of zero has been placed on the following species of fish found within the 100m proximity: Arctic grayling, burbot, ciscoes, inconnu, lake trout, northern pike, walleye and whitefish.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada communications advisor Rosaleen O’Mahony stated in an email that since the road increases accessibility to fishing locations, the updates to the regulation are designed to alleviate fishing pressure.
“The limits for these specific species were varied given that they are likely or possible targets of sport fisheries in the area,” she said. “The limits are intended to reduce sport fishing pressure on these species in proximity to the road, in order to support the long term-sustainability of fishery resources in the area.”
O’Mahony added that the implementation of the new regulation was done out of recognition for Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk harvesters who rely on the fishery resources that the surrounding area has to offer.
“These changes to the sport fishing regulations were supported by the Fisheries Joint Management Council (FJMC) and the communities of Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk,” she said.
Prior to this regulatory change, O’Mahony said that the previous sport fishing daily catch and possession limits were higher, but had varied among species depending on the limits set by either the NWT or the ISR.
Fisheries within the ISR are co-managed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, FJMC and the Hunters and Trappers Committees (HTCs) from each of the communities, according to O’Mahony.
Reductions were also made to the number of daily catch and possession limits to all other waters in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) for species such as the Arctic grayling, lake trout, northern pike, walleye and whitefish.
“People found violating the Fisheries Act could be charged, and may be liable to a fine up to $500,000 and up to two years of imprisonment,” she said.
The NWT sport fishing guide functions as a reference guide outlining the various regulations for sport fishing in the NWT. It includes all of the daily catch and possession limits for other fish species and areas found within the territory.
A new guide is introduced every year on April 1, which is valid for a full season before expiring on March 31.