Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) fishermen and biologists are noticing what appear to be profound changes in the nature of the fishery around their traditional territories. For example, yellow perch seem to be increasing in number and in all age classes. Whitefish – the staple of our commercial fishery – have adapted to changes in food availability by feeding on invasive zebra and quagga mussels.
Kathleen Ryan is the Energy Manager for the Saugeen Ojibway Nation Environment Office. She is the lead on our dealings with Hydro One, Bruce Nuclear and Ontario Power Generation. But she is also a fisheries biologist.
She says, “SON will be starting a Shoreline Monitoring Project in the next few months, to investigate some of these changes and to lay down a baseline of information regarding the state of the fishery in our territorial waters. Our fishermen have been telling us what they’re seeing and it concerns us.”
On Monday, November 26th, SON will be asking listeners to the CFOS Open Line show what they’ve been noticing. (9 am to 10 am on 560AM or online .)
On air will be Nawash Chief Greg Nadjiwon, Kathleen Ryan, and Ryan Lauzon, Nawash Fisheries Biologist.
“We share the waters of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay with many other users,” says Chief Nadjiwon. “Our priority is naturally the health of our court-recognized commercial fishery. But we are concerned with the overall health of the fishery. And that means having a conversation with other users. We feel the best way to start that is by coming on the Open Line and sharing what we know with listeners.”
The SON Environmental Office has the responsibility for coordinating consultations with the Saugeen Ojibway Nation – the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation and the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation. Its principle concern is that the projects of companies and governments do not harm the environment and therefore the rights and claims of the First Nations.