North Coast Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society
The North Coast-Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society (NCSFNSS) was established in 2005 to enable First Nations communities on the British Columbia North Coast and lower Skeena River to collaborate on projects of shared value. In particular, the NCSFNSS works on regional and community-based initiatives related to planning and the sustainable use of marine resources. The current Member Nations of the NCSFNSS are: Gitxaala, Gitga’at, Kitsumkalum, and Kitselas First Nations.
The NCSFNSS coordinates, supports, and implements multiple projects. Through both Marine Planning and Fisheries Programs, NCSFNSS staff work towards increasing our understanding of the North Coast’s social and biological environments as well as carrying out specific Habitat restoration projects and assessments.
Participation and Engagement in Salmon Management and Science
Salmon is of critical importance to the North Coast-Skeena First Nations and for that reason, salmon is a focal point for the NCSFNSS fisheries program. Our office participates each year in the development of the North Coast Salmon Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP) to ensure our communities’ concerns are voiced. We track season forecasts and management decisions prior to the start of the fishing season as well as in-season. Our office also participates in coast-wide initiatives, such as the Commercial Salmon Allocation Framework (CSAF) reform process to advocate for equitable economic access for our communities. We are involved in Skeena Salmon projects initiated by the Pacific Salmon Foundation, such as Skeena salmon benchmark analysis and watershed habitat assessment. During the salmon season, we conduct a recreational Creel survey and execute a First Nations only commercial fishing project.
The NCSFNSS works with its member and partner Nations through regular Stewardship Society Habitat and Aquatic Resources Committee (SSHARC) meetings to discuss fisheries matters of regional importance and how best to address them. Most of the work focuses on species that are highly valued by the Nations for food, means of income, and/or ceremonial purposes; these include salmon, eulachon and crab. NCSFNSS fisheries work is primarily funded by the Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s (DFO) Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management (AAROM) program. This funding is used by the NCSFNSS to support engagement with the member and partner Nations in advisory and decision-making processes related to fisheries science and management. NCSFNSS convenes a Joint Technical Working Group with DFO as a means of sharing information, addressing fisheries topics of mutual interest, and strengthening working relationships. NCSFNSS also provides engagement in broader regional and coast‐wide processes, such as First Nations Fisheries Council’s Salmon Coordinating Committee (FNFCSCC) , and DFO’s Commercial Salmon Allocation Framework (CSAF).
Marine Planning Activities
NCSFNSS is working to implement the MaPP North Coast plan. Regarding Marine Planning, the priority identified during the planning process for our Member Nations is Cumulative Effects and their potential impacts to habitat and marine resources as industrial projects are both proposed and sometimes built in our Nations traditional territories. NCSFNSS is transitioning away from some Marine Planning activities but, through MaPP and the Enviornmental Stewardship Iniative, NCSFNSS will be engaged with Cumulative Effects planning on the North Coast for the foreseeable future.
KEY ACTIVITIES INCLUDE:
∙ Recreational Fishery Monitoring ∙ First Nations Commercial Fishery Development ∙ Fisheries Legislation & Policy Development and Fisheries Management Advocacy ∙ Fisheries Related Community Development ∙ Fish Habitat Restoration ∙ Eulachon FSC Harvest Monitoring
∙ Executive Director ∙ 1 Fisheries Program Director ∙ 1 Fisheries Habitat Biologist ∙ 1 Fisheries Technical and Communications Coordinator – 1 Office Manager ∙1 Program Director Cumulative Effects and Strategic Initiatives ∙ 1 Office Administrator ∙
Department of Fisheries and Oceans ∙ Province of British Columbia ∙ Coast Opportunities Fund – Coastal First Nations ∙ Pacific Salmon Foundation ∙ Pacific Salmon Commission ∙ Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation ∙ Marine Planning Partnership (MaPP)