Aboriginal Fisheries

Aquuijaq Qisiiq from Nunavik receives a community fishing permit from Fisheries and Oceans Canada officers.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has the mandate to implement programs with a view to integrating Aboriginal communities into the fisheries, in accordance with current treaty requirements and decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada. These decisions were based on current treaties and recognized ancestral rights.

In Quebec, the Department Is:

  • Working with riparian Aboriginal communities to foster their involvement in the area of fisheries.
  • Negotiating agreements to ensure Aboriginal peoples have a more important role in resource management.
  • Developing initiatives enabling Aboriginal peoples to acquire skills and abilities in commercial fisheries operations and in fisheries business management.
  • Investing in the regrouping of Aboriginal communities settled around the same watershed who have common interests, as a means of stimulating skills and knowledge sharing.

Marine mammal management in Northern Quebec is also an important part of the Aboriginal Fisheries Division’s mandate. Partnership agreements with the Nunavik Inuit allow a collaborative approach to managing different species, in particular the beluga. Beluga is an important part of the Inuit populations’ subsistence. In Nunavik, two concentrations of beluga, that of Ungava Bay and that of Eastern Hudson Bay are considered as being endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

Our Clients

  • Seven Innu communities of the North-Shore
  • Four communities of Gaspésie : the Mi’kmaq and the Malecite of Viger
  • Inuit from 14 Northern Quebec communities
  • Other Aboriginal communities who exploit aquatic resources
  • Other groups related to Aboriginal communities

Court Decisions

Over the years, the Supreme Court of Canada has clarified certain aspects of Aboriginal rights and treaty rights in respect of fisheries. The main decisions that encouraged the development of Aboriginal fisheries are the Sparrowdecision in 1990 and the Marshall decision in 1999, which led to the introduction of new programs. Also, the Powley decision deals with Metis rights while the Taku Haida and Mikisew decisions address the importance of consulting the First Nations under certain circumstances.

Current treaties in connection with our operations:

  • The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement
  • Nunavik Inuit Comprehensive Land Claims Agreement

Treaties being negotiated:

  • James Bay Cree Comprehensive Land Claims
  • Mamuitun, Mamit Innuat, Ashuanipi Comprehensive Land Claims
  • Attikameks Comprehensive Land Claims
  • Post-Marshall decision negotiations with Mi’kmaq and Malecite communities.

Beluga Harvest in Northern Quebec

Statistics, beluga whale sightings and takes in northern Quebec

Please note that the Beluga Harvest in Northern Quebec report will soon be available in a format in line with the new management system of beluga hunting recently approved by the Minister.

2015 (available upon request)  2014   2013   2012   2011   2010   2009   2008  2007   2006