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National Indigenous Fisheries Institute


Our Story

The National Indigenous Fisheries Institute is promoting national consistency and standards across Indigenous programs and practises to maximize the benefits to communities. The Institute was set up in May 2017 following the National Indigenous Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum (formerly known as the National Aboriginal Fisheries Forum). The organization is rooted in the principle of collaboration between Indigenous groups and government: the co-development, co-design and co-delivery approach to improving the programs and practises that impact the lives of Indigenous peoples. Our work began with Indigenous Program Reviewand the development of the Northern Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative. Following extensive engagement of Indigenous people, communities, businesses and organizations across Canada, the Institute completed two reports to outline how the Department needs to improve its programs using three approaches:

  1. Taking practical steps to make the administration of programs more efficient
  2. Igniting a culture change across all DFO regions and sectors by approaching program renewal through the lens of truth and reconciliation – and the long-term goal of a balanced relationship between the Government of Canada and Indigenous communities.
  3. Reconciling resource managementby recognizing the co-management capacity of Indigenous peoples and their jurisdiction and authority over territorial resources

Indigenous Program Reviewand the final report of the Northern Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative were completed in May 2019 and formerly accepted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada at the same time. In September 2019, the Department also released a publicly accessible Action Plan to respond to each of the recommendations put forth in the review. Alongside program review, the Institute assessed the technical capacity of Indigenous groups and communities to participate in marine spatial planning. This project led to the creation of the indigenousoceans.ca website and a formal report identifying Indigenous expertise in oceans management and their technical tools and training needs. The Institute has a number of other projects underway to support Indigenous Program Review Implementation and the delivery of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Action Plan. Two of these projects are described below.

Highlight Projects

The Institute has partnered with the First Nations Fisheries Council of BC to deliver a British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF) project to engage Indigenous organizations and communities in eight large-scale, multi-Nation initiatives that may be funded through BCSRIF. These initiatives are intended to support increased Indigenous involvement in science partnerships, innovation and infrastructure investments that improve productivity, sustainability, and safety across the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Investing in ongoing training and continuous improvement reflects the best practises of governments and businesses to retain staff, plan for succession, and help personnel achieve their career aspirations A key recommendation of Indigenous Program Review was for the Department to secure a long-term source of funds to support Indigenous training and skills development along career progression paths. The Institute’s Indigenous Training and Skills Developmentproject is exploring the potential for federal collaboration in training and skills development related to DFO’s programs. It will determine the Department’s current investment in Indigenous training and skills development and the investments of other departments and agencies in order to determine the gaps and redundancies. It will also uncover what is taking place within Indigenous communities and by Indigenous groups to fill the gaps and advance Indigenous-set employment objectives.


The National Indigenous Fisheries Institute works for all First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, communities and groups across Canada.


  • Tracking Indigenous Program Review Implementation
  • Co-delivery of the Northern Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative
  • Indigenous Training and Skills Development
  • BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund project
  • Compendium of Innovative Socio-economic Partnerships

Internal Capacity

  • Executive Director
  • Secretariat Team
  • Board of Directors:
      • John G. Paul, Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat
      • Hon. Ethel Blondin-Andrew, P.C., Sahtu Region, Northwest Territories
      • Deborah Price
      • Jeffery Maurice, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
      • Lina Condo, Ulnooweg Development Group
      • Angie Gillis, The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq
      • Okalik Eegeesiak, Inuit socio-economic development
      • Robert Chamberlin


  • Memorandum of Understanding with the First Nations Fisheries Council of British Columbia
  • One of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s co-delivery partners in the Northern Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative and interim host of the Nunavut Business Development Team