Credit: IISD (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)
Cedar Lake Walleye and Northern Pike Fisheries has achieved organic certification from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the internationally recognized standard for sustainable fishing. The fishery is the second freshwater fishery in the province of Manitoba and only the third in Canada to enter the MSC program. Manitoba is also the only source of MSC-certified northern pike in the world. After an in-depth 13-month assessment, the fishery was independently certified by external auditor Lloyd’s Register, who scored the fishery on 28 detailed MSC performance indicators related to stock health, l general environmental impact and effective management. MSC certification is expected to help ensure wider access to national and international markets for artisanal fishery products.
“Congratulations to Cedar Lake Fisheries for their success as a well-managed and sustainable commercial freshwater fishery,” said the Honorable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services Canada. “Becoming an MSC organically certified fishery is a great achievement that will contribute to the livelihoods of fishermen and their families, and their communities of Chemawawin Cree Nation and the nearby Métis community of Easterville. Indigenous fishermen have been leaders in sustainability for generations and this recognition will help them access market demand for sustainably harvested fish.”
Cedar Lake is located about 460 kilometers northwest of Winnipeg and is the fourth largest commercial fishery in the province. Approximately 135 metric tons of northern pike and 220 metric tons of walleye are expected to be added to the provincial volume of MSC-certified lake fish.
“Everyone who has worked to achieve Cedar Lake’s fishery certification has shown that fisheries of all sizes, compositions and locations around the world can meet a global standard like the MSC Fisheries Standard for Sustainable Fisheries.” said Kurtis Hayne, MSC Canada program director. “We congratulate and applaud their achievements and welcome them to the program.”
Partnerships drive progress
The fishery’s MSC certification is the result of a multi-year collaboration between the fish harvesters of Cedar Lake Fisheries Inc., the Chemawawin Cree Nation, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and the Province of Manitoba.
It is supported by the ISC’s Indigenous Commercial Inland Fisheries Initiative (IICFI) which brings together federal, provincial and Indigenous partners in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to sustain and grow the Indigenous commercial fishing industry.
“We are very proud of what our fishermen have achieved with the support of our partners,” said Floyd George, president of Cedar Lake Fisheries Inc. “Being able to scientifically demonstrate the sustainability of our fishery through MSC certification will support not only the long-term health of our lake, but also our community because buyers demand credible sustainable management.”
Through the sustainable management of lake fisheries, the partnership aims to increase employment protection and income stability for northern and indigenous communities, ensure greater food security in remote areas and ensure access to fisheries resources for recreational users and commercial tourism operators that contribute to the northern economy. health and prosperity.
Small-scale fishing supports communities and livelihoods
Small-scale artisanal fishing provides jobs for approximately 90 fishermen, helpers and fish boat workers from the Chemawawin Cree Nation and the Easterville Metis community.
It operates two distinct seasons: a summer fishing season (from June 1 to October 31) that is carried out from small fiberglass or aluminum boats of 6 to 8 meters in length, and a of winter (from November 1 to March 31) which is carried out on ice with snowmobiles. and Bombardiers for transport. Both involve highly manual labor that requires fishermen to pick the entangled fish from their nets one by one.
Good management leads to recovery.
After the collapse of the fishery in 1996, fishermen approached the Manitoba government to discuss the need to change fisheries management. Fishermen agreed cedar_lake_summary from 1998 to 2003 to allow fish stocks to rebuild, after which a revitalization plan was enacted to reduce fishing licenses to a more viable number while providing new professional training and it was a bridge for those who gave up fishing.
After years of additional improvements, including a collaborative stock monitoring program that engages anglers in collecting fishery data essential to science-based lake management, in November 2021 the Cedar Lake Fishery was able to enter the MSC assessment.
For more information on the MSC certificate of the fishery, visit Track a Fishery at msc.org.