The first priority of the Aboriginal Fisheries Division is to build respectful knowledgeable working relationships with First Nations and Aboriginal groups as well as assist them in the management of their fishery. The Aboriginal Fisheries Division also provides fishing licenses for food, social, and ceremonial purposes consistent with the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy and commercial fishing licenses consistent with the Marshall Response Initiative.
Within the territory managed by the Gulf Region, there are 14 First Nations and 2 Native Councils representing off reserve Natives; the New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council* and the Native Council of Prince Edward Island.*
To view a list of First Nations, including a map and details of all First Nations in the Gulf Region, visit: First Nations of the Gulf Region.
The Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy (AFS) came into effect in 1990 when the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the right of Aboriginal peoples to fish for food, social, and ceremonial purposes. This is known as the Sparrow decision. In exchange for a regulated food, social and ceremonial fishery, Fisheries and Oceans Canada provided access to the commercial fishery thus creating economic opportunities for First Nations and Aboriginal groups.
The Department has facilitated the integration of First Nations and Aboriginal groups into the management of the fisheries and entered into agreements to manage initiatives such as fisheries guardians and science programs.
The Atlantic Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (AICFI) aims to enhance long-term business development by providing the means to develop commercial fisheries enterprises and business management skills in order to build capacity in commercial fisheries operations and have a more effective voice in fisheries co-management.
The Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management (AAROM) program was created to assist Aboriginal groups in acquiring the administrative capacity as well as the scientific and technical expertise in order to develop programs such as environmental initiatives, training, and fishery officer recruitment. AAROM encourages the establishment of collaborative management structures that contribute to integrated ecosystem and watershed management and planning processes.
In the Gulf Region, the following Aboriginal groups are managed under the AAROM program:
The Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR) recognizes the role that Aboriginal people play in wildlife conservation and aims at establishing a meaningful collaboration with Aboriginal communities in the implementation of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). The Act ensures that aboriginal traditional knowledge is taken into account when assessments of which species are at risk are carried out and when protection and recovery measures are developed and implemented.
More information and instructions on how to apply for the AFSAR program are available through Environment Canada Regional Offices.
More information on Aboriginal peoples’ involvement with the Species at Risk Act is available at: What the Act means to you - Aboriginal peoples.