The Nuxalk people have always kept our food fishery separate from the commercial fishery to protect the food fishery from exploitation and over harvesting. Food fish is for personal use and to maintain the health and structure of each Nuxalk family. For the sale of salmon and other fish, commercial fisherman in the fleet must buy a license, pay for insurance, pay for taxes and follow the guidelines and fishing openings governed by a management plan.
If Nuxalk persons wished to obtain other food staples or materials from the value of the salmon from the food fishery, they always traded and bartered with neighbouring First Nations Communities. They even traded with non-native persons for other goods and materials not attainable otherwise. Traditionally, Nuxalk have traded for other food staples not found in their territory. However for a trade to occur, both parties must have each of the trading goods on the table at the same time. Trading for promises is not allowed, as money may change hands at a later date through transactions not observed.
The Nuxalk Fisheries office assists the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in the management, assessment, enumeration, and enhancement of salmon stocks within Nuxalk Territory. Both parties agree to work together to monitor and conserve the stocks and share the information collected to better assess and manage the fish resource each year. There is also an “enforcement protocol” developed and delivered by DFO to the Nuxalk Fisheries office as an appendix to this agreement that outlines the roles of both parties annually for the fishing season pending. All projects within this agreement are based on the Nuxalk community’s needs, and are assessed and developed through interaction in community meetings and flyers held and delivered for the people. All training and employment for Nuxalk community members in fisheries related projects are conducted through this means with the fisheries office as well.
The Nuxalk Fisheries office is a scientific based research facility focused on the salmon and other fish species, with a clear goal for conservation, assessment, enumeration and enhancement project development and implementation. Nuxalk Fisheries is not a political office, but instead a satellite office designed specifically for science oriented projects, as well as resource monitoring and enforcement projects for the protection of salmon and other fish species and their respected habitats.
Some projects that the Nuxalk Fisheries Program are involved with include the River Guardian Program, Spawn on Kelp, the Ooligan Study, the Atnarko Downstream Trapping Project, the Atnarko Tower Count and the Sockeye Enhancement Project.