Fur, Agriculture and Fisheries

Agriculture is a small, emerging sector ranging from small community gardens to commercial greenhouses, regulated egg production and harvesting of “wild” edibles. The local food production sector has grown dramatically in the last decade, and the agriculture sector in total generates about $8-10 million in income per annum in the NWT. Opportunities exist to produce unique NWT products, like birch syrup or herbal teas and other harvested foods. The commercial egg industry also shows potential to be expanded, with the department working to promote production to meet local needs.

Trapping provides cash income and enables Aboriginal people to continue a lifestyle that has been a tradition in the North for thousands of years. Both China and Russia are emerging major markets for NWT fur. For example, muskrats are in surprisingly high demand and on average the price per pelt has doubled since 2009. Management of resources is done in partnership with the trappers, a local wildlife management board and government. All harvesting is monitored and analyzed to ensure healthy fur bearer population is sustained.

Production from the commercial freshwater fish industry has been steadily declining since its peak in 2001/02, however the industry has experienced an increase in sales of 61 per cent over the previous year and was valued at $817,000. The NWT supplies approximately one per cent of Canada’s freshwater fish. Whitefish is commercially harvested from Great Slave Lake and makes up 81 per cent of the lake’s total harvest. Whitefish volumes are increasing over recent lows.