Monitoring: A Four-year Summary of the Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge
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Each fisher reports
on his/her two most important fish resources. Reports address broad
whitefish, coney, loche, arctic char, herring, dog salmon, king salmon,
silver salmon, crooked back, lake trout, and grayling. Fishers
evaluate the overall quality and quantity of fish, timing of run (where
appropriate), parasites, and physical abnormalities.
Reports from local
expert indicate that most fish species used for subsistence are healthy,
although there is ongoing concern for abnormalities in loche livers.
Mackenzie Delta fishers note that the texture of whitefish flesh has
been poor (watery or mushy). In 1998, Old Crow fishers observed salmon
to be in good numbers, contrary to DFO statistics indicating low escapement
livers (discolored, white lumps, spots) reported
- Elders tell of
decrease in size of loche since long ago
- Locals from all
communities express concerned that unusual livers may be result of contaminants
- Some attribute
problem to drying of creeks and low water levels
- Knowledge Co-op
coordinates community collection of good and unusual
livers in 1999-2000
- Samples sent to
lab for testing, results awaiting.
and King Salmon
Water levels are
key in run timing and quality of catch. Low water levels are considered
by many as the threat to salmon. However, low water may not always
correspond to poor annual harvest.
are a signal that the salmon will be begin run in 4 or 5 days
- If water is low,
then dog salmon get battered up. When high water, fish comes quickly.
When water is dropping, fish tend to go faster up river, and therefore
more battered (OC98/99).
- Lots of water,
very few fish. Low water a lot of King Salmon. (OC 96-97)
- In high water,
fish tend to stay in the middle; fewer than average fish between this
year and last due to low water. (OC 96-97)
- Lower water
so fish had hard time to come by. Very unusual that King Salmon came
along with Dog Salmon. Dog Salmon usually comes a month later.