We are the salmon fisheries of Mowachaht / Muchalaht First Nations located in and around Nootka Sound on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Covering an area of more than 2500 square kilometers, Nootka sound is protected from the open sea by Nootka Island. Inshore from this island are several deep fjords reaching far inland to the north, south, and east which are fed by more than a dozen salmon-bearing rivers, making this one of the most diverse and productive chinook salmon fisheries on Canada’s west coast. One of 14 member nations of the Nuu-chah-nulth, Mowachaht/Muchalaht have enjoyed the rich diversity of our land and waters since time immemorial and work today to manage and sustain this rich ecosystem for future generations.
Our traditional lifestyles are based on a long history of whaling, fishing, hunting and foraging. Our ancestors were great whale hunters, pursuing them far out to sea in large ocean-going canoes from our Community at Yuquot (Friendly Cove) on the southern tip of Nootka Island. While Yuquot is one of our main villages, traditionally we also moved seasonally to Tahsis in the north, and Tsaxana (Gold River) to the east following our harvest seasons. In each these places we would reconnect with seasonal abundances like the spring migrations of herring that sought out our sheltered coves, and the summer migrations of salmon headed to local rivers like the Canuma, Burma and the Gold.