Vuntut Gwitchin Young Fishers: studying energy flows in the Porcupine

The Vuntut Gwitchin Young Fishers is a local Canadian Stewardship project and a pilot project for what will hopefully become a long-term Stewardship Program for the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (VGFN). This project will be an ongoing collaboration between the Vuntut Gwitchin Government and the Chief Zzeh Gittlit School of Old Crow that will engage senior students in a collective fishery science project every year.  For this pilot project will have Young Fishers collecting, dissecting, examining, and documenting the stomach contents of predatory fish captured in Community Fisheries. Concurrently, we will seek to have the stomach contents analysed by genetic methods in a research laboratory. During this pilot stage the main source of samples will be the winter burbot fishery at the mouth of the Old Crow River. Opportunities to sample other fisheries will be taken if possible, in particular during a spring expedition to the headwaters at Whitestone Village. Juvenile Chinook, (fall) chum, and coho salmon will be the prey species and life stages of interest. The stomach contents will be a proxy for the energy flow through the ecosystems of the Porcupine River: essentially, which fish eats which other fish and how important are salmon species as prey.