Document: Strategy for Revitalizing the Great Slave Lake Fishery

The Minister of Industry, Tourism, & Investment (ITI), Wally Schumann, and the President of the NWT Fishermen’s Federation (NWTFF), Stacey Linnington, unveiled the GNWT’s Strategy to Revitalize the Great Slave Lake Commercial Fishery.

The development of the strategy, which has been years in the making, has been a collaborative effort between the government and the NWTFF. The four overarching goals of the strategy are to increase lake production, increase processing capability in the Territory, grow local markets, and to access export markets. The Strategy forecasts sales to increase from about $1 million to $6 million over the 5-year roll out, but that is just the beginning. See the Strategy for more information.

The event was attended by local fishermen, both of Hay River’s MLAs, councilors and representatives from Town of Hay River, representatives of the Hay River Chamber of Commerce, media, and residents.

GNWT Press Release


HAY RIVER (February 27, 2017) – A Strategy to Revitalize the NWT’s Commercial Fishery was officially unveiled today in Hay River; the town that has been the hub of the territory’s fishing industry over the last 70 years.

The Strategy for Revitalizing the Great Slave Lake Commercial Fishery describes steps, actions and investments, to be implemented over a five-year period, to restore the NWT’s once-powerful Great Slave Lake commercial fishery.  It is central to the Government of the Northwest Territories’ (GNWT) stated mandate to diversify the NWT economy, create local jobs, and contribute to greater food security.

 The Strategy was developed in partnership with the NWT Fishermen’s Federation with particular attention to the expressed needs of current and prospective commercial fishers in the NWT.  It will be advanced alongside a business plan developed by the Federation’s Tu Cho Cooperative and $1.4 million in funds committed by the GNWT for the revitalization of the sector.

The goals of the Strategy include increasing lake production, increasing processing in the NWT, growing the NWT market for Great Slave Lake Fish and accessing export markets.

The need to revitalize the NWT commercial fishery was first highlighted in the 2013 NWT Economic Opportunities Strategy.  The development and implementation of the Strategy is a commitment in the Mandate of the 18th Legislative Assembly.


“We’re going to rebuild the GSL commercial Fishery. That means future generations of fishermen can live and work in our territory; it means jobs, business opportunities and economic growth. And, it will mean a healthy, caught-and-prepared-in the-NWT food choice for NWT residents.

Wally Schumann, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment

“This is big news for Hay River, and the NWT as a whole. A Comprehensive plan will help support the hard work already being done by the fisherman who have been doing everything they can to rebuild the industry. I am confident that with continuing support, this sector can one day become the pride of the NWT.”

Rocky (RJ) Simpson, MLA, Hay River North

“We have the skill, the vision and the passion – and now we have a plan. We are eager to do our part to rebuild a strong and healthy commercial fishery that will benefit our present membership and the many generations of fishers that follow. We see a future where our industry can flourish and provide economic benefits to families and communities throughout the North.”

-Stacy Linington, President, NWT Fishermen’s Federation


Quick facts

  • The Revitalization Strategy contemplates an annual benefit of over $6 million to the NWT economy.
  • Commercial fishing on Great Slave Lake began in 1947.
  • The goal of the Revitalization Strategy is to bring production back to historical levels by increasing production from 420,000 kilograms (in the summer of 2013) to 1.3 million kilograms (unprocessed) annually by 2021.
  • Under the Revitalization Strategy, 40% of Great Slave Lake production will be targeted at the NWT market (either frozen or fresh filets).


Relevant links

Media contact

Drew Williams
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Industry, Tourism and Investment
867-767-9202 ext. 63037