Commercial Fisheries

Indigenous Resource Management Officer Program (October 2022)

The proceeding report was developed to address the research needs of the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs to guide the development of a new fisheries monitoring and resource management and guardian model based on Indigenous knowledge principles and best practices. Recommendations about engagement approaches, the co-development of a new fisheries monitoring and management model, position content, and best practices in position development are proposed. Previous Indigenous guardian programs at a national and international level provide valuable insight into the characteristics needed for a successful resource management position. Specifically, past programs highlight that guardians are strongly responsible for designing land and sea management plans, engaging in intergenerational knowledge sharing, and monitoring activities.

Access and Allocations Report (October 2022)

The Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat Fisheries and Integrated Resources department engaged in this access and allocations project to better understand about opportunities and barriers to fisheries access and allocations. There was strong feedback from Indigenous fisheries harvesters and directors from across the Atlantic region, including Labrador and Quebec. Indigenous peoples have been and continue to be stewards of the lands and waters; hence, including Indigenous knowledge and co-management practices in policy development and review is necessary. Furthermore, the fisheries are an integral source of nutritional, social, cultural, and economic health and wellbeing of Indigenous communities in the Atlantic region.

Examining the Canadian Fisheries Act (2019) and the Canadian United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (2021)

The Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat (APC) has engaged Generation Z Research professional services to undertake an analytical review of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in its current adopted form by Canada.

The development of a case study on the application of UNDRIP on the Fisheries Act specifically with respect to fish and fish habitat conservation and protection.

Annual Fisheries Conference

The APC Fisheries Conference was created to bring the most influential First Nations commercial fisheries managers and leaders together to share experiences and strategize for the future. It is an opportunity for Fisheries Managers to stay informed, discuss and strategize about issues of common interest. Conference sessions include discussions about commercial opportunities, fisheries policies, training and marine safety, fisheries diversification, financial management and other issues identified by participants. The APC Fisheries Awards Banquet takes place the evening of the last day of the conference.


The First Nations Fisheries Awards Program is meant to recognize achievements by First Nations members. The awards are presented on the last day of the fisheries conference. The awards banquet is an annual event celebrating excellence in Atlantic First Nation fisheries and aquaculture. Awards are given in categories including Captain, Deckhand, Crew, Young Business Person, Young Fisher, Fisheries Manager, Traditional Fisher and Fleet Managers of the Year as well as additional awards for proficiency in accounting practices and use with the Fisheries Management System (FMS) and completion of the First Nations Fisheries Enterprise Management Training. The APC Fisheries Awards Banquet attracts additional participation from Chiefs, Councillors and other community staff members directly involved in daily fishery operations and is an excellent networking and relationship–building opportunity.

We are now accepting nominations for the 13th Annual Fisheries Awards. We encourage everyone, including community members to submit their nominations online, or email their selections to

The deadline to submit nominations is November 30, 2023.


The Atlantic Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (AICFI) supports Mi’kmaq and Maliseet First Nations in developing commercial fisheries enterprise governance and business management skills, building capacity in commercial fisheries operations, and playing a more effective role in fisheries co-management. The AICFI serves eligible communities located in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and the Gaspe region in Quebec.

The major goal of AICFI is to provide the mentoring and training required to support First Nations in building capacity in commercial fisheries. Much of the work of APC’s Fisheries Department is related to the different components of the AICFI that contribute to the overall goals of the program.

These include:

    • Component 1: Enterprise Governance Enhancement
    • Component 2: Management Practice Enhancement
    • Component 3: Fisheries Co-Management Capacity Building
    • Component 4: Commercial Fisheries Diversification


In 2008, the Fisheries Business Development Team (BDT) was established under AICFI, through a partnership arrangement between Ulnooweg and APC. The BDT provides support services and assists communities with business development for First Nations commercial fisheries. For more information, visit



“The National Indigenous Fisheries Institute is an organization that promotes national consistency and standards across Indigenous fisheries and aquaculture programs and practices to maximize the benefits to communities. They are rooted in the principle of collaboration between Indigenous groups and government by co-developing, co-designing, and co-delivery of programs and practices that impact the lives of Indigenous communities.”

For more information, visit