These are the fisheries of the Fraser First Nations. All five species of salmon are harvested each year by nearly 100 First Nations Communities belonging to at least nine distinct tribal nations living in and about the Fraser River. The Fraser Watershed spans over 220,0002 kilometers and runs through glaciers, deserts and rainforests. Harvesting technologies used are as diverse as the peoples, the environments, and the salmon stocks – angling, spear, gaff, and traps are common harvesting tools in shallower waters. Fish wheels and purse seines were introduced with modern machines, but the traditional dip-net is ubiquitous throughout the watershed, steeped in custom and arguably the most dangerous but most popular practice in this fishery.
In some of the earliest documentation ever to record these fisheries, a 1910 memorial to then Prime Minister of Canada Sir Wilfred Laurier, the interior First Nations reflected a deep and iconic relationship between the Fraser salmon and their people since time immemorial – the most current evidence suggests this may precede the end of the last ice age. It is no surprise when one considers the vast supply of salmon for food and trade that made these nations rich, their peoples diverse, and the Fraser a navigation corridor of great ecological and economic value. Today these salmon support subsistence, sport and commercial harvesting. The fisheries span the river’s entire 1,375 kilometers – from its headwaters east of Mount Robson, downstream to the Fraser River Delta, debunking the myth that these fish are no good to eat once they leave salt water. Look for a wide variety of products, colors, flavors and textures in Fraser salmon, and an equally varied offering of products owing to the differing species, stocks and geographical origins of Fraser salmon.