Welcome to Gitanyow Territory

The Gitanyow Fisheries Authority (GFA) is the technical arm of the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs (GHC), and provides fisheries, wildlife and overall environmental expertise and services.  GFA shares an office with the GHC, which is located in the village of Gitanyow.  GFA has been operating since 1997 and in that time has grown to employing 3 full-time biologists, 1 full-time fisheries coordinator and 8-10 seasonal technical staff.  GFA conducts salmonid stock assessment, watershed restoration, environmental monitoring, fish and wildlife habitat assessment, environmental impact assessment, research and planning, primarily within the Gitanyow Territory. 

A driving force behind the creation of the GFA was the perilous state of the Kitwanga River sockeye salmon.  This stock was historically a key food fish for the Gitanyow people, as well as a vital component of the highly productive Kitwanga River Watershed ecosystem.  The Gitanyow have taken the lead by volunteering to not harvest Kitwanga sockeye as a Food, Social and Ceremonial (FSC) fish since the early 1970's.  They were also instrumental in spearheading the Kitwanga Sockeye Recovery Plan in 2005-2006, a collaboration between GFA, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Skeena Fisheries Commission (SFC).  A key part of the recovery of the Kitwanga sockeye has involved accurate stock assessment (i.e. enumeration), resulting in the construction and operation of both the Kitwanga River Salmon Enumeration Facility and the Kitwanga River Sockeye Smolt Enumeration Facility.  Both these stock assessment tools have enabled GFA to obtain accurate counts of sockeye spawners and smolts, with the additional benefits of enabling enumeration of all salmon spawners that migrate into the Kitwanga River.  

Starting with the protection of the Kitwanga River sockeye salmon, the GFA has grown into a well established fisheries management team, that now conducts stock assessment work in the Nass River Watershed (Cranberry River, Brown Bear Creek), as well as a variety of work throughout the Gitanyow Traditional Territory.  The services of GFA staff are now in demand and have been acquired for work in neighbouring watersheds, such as Sedan Creek and throughout the Kispiox River Watershed. 


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Kitwanga River Salmon Enumeration Facility

Chinook salmon are typically the first to migrate through the fence each year. This Chinook is swimming overtop the white teflon bottom of the trapbox.

Kitwanga Smolt Enumeration Facility

From GFA's experience in 2008, most sockeye moved through the trap on the left side of the fence (bottom section of fence in photo), so trap boxes were redesigned and moved in 2009 to adapt to this.

Snapshots of GFA Projects

GFA technician Les McLean with a silver coho caught in the seine net.