Salmon Summit 3
The Salmon Summit has been held in Listuguj for three years now. It was created to bring people and organizations with interests in the Restigouche watershed together.
Over the course of two days, Salmon Summit 3 was held at the Bingo Hall. Discussions and focus group sessions were held, showing the amount of work and data that needs to be analyzed and shared.
The summit began as a means to talk about the diverse relationships with the salmon, but is now growing into a truly collaborative approach to managing and protecting the water, and all that it sustains.
There are people like Carole-Anne Gillis, a cost-shared fisheries biologist, working for several organizations, to gather information and understand Everything from stock assessments, to testing fish for viruses or bacterial infections.
“We’re doing a lot of basic fundamental research,” Gillis said. “To answer questions that we can then follow through with management.”
The benefit of the summit, is various groups can work toward mutually beneficial goals. The first step, however, is Identifying the challenges to achieving them.
“Discussion groups today were about identifying them,” said Kirt Dedam, the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy Coordinator, with Listuguj Fisheries. “How can we work toward solutions? So that everybody – when they go away today, will have something to work towards.”
The hope is that people can return next year, for Salmon Summit 4, and say they followed through with their commitments.
“This is how we want to keep growing this thing,” Dedam said.
The summit has always been intended to serve multiple purposes. Representing the Aboriginal perspective has always been one of the key goals. Dedam believes a lot of people were taking this perspective away with them this year.
“There’s a lot of talk about ‘two-eyed seeing,’” Dedam said. “Seeing from a western science and an Aboriginal perspective too. But how do you blend the two? So I think that’s one of the things that people get from these meetings. Plus, we learn more about the science that’s going on, which is important too. ”
A main focus has always been building relationships and trust among the various groups, and Dedam was pleased to see a lot of participation this year.
Discussions around what the future may hold for the summit has also begun.
“We’re starting to expand our view,” Dedam said. “And where we want to go with this is maybe inviting other watersheds in the area, from other provinces, other communities, other First Nations, and start being more inclusive, and keep growing this.”