The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) incorporated the Salmonid Enhancement Program (SEP) in 1977. As part of the SEP, Community Economic Development Program (CEDP) hatcheries were set up in First Nations traditional territories, funded by the DFO, but owned and operated by the Band. The goal of this program was to manage, conserve and replenish pacific salmon stocks. The SEP and CEDP ensure a steady stock of salmon for recreational and commercial fishing as well as harvest opportunities for First Nations peoples.
The Hartley Bay Salmon Hatchery, operated by the Gitga’at First Nations (GFN), ensures that there are ample of Coho in their traditional territories and surrounding area. This makes for good fishing and attracts many sports and commercial fishermen to the region, in turn providing economic benefit to the Nation. It also ensures that the GFN have salmon to harvest for themselves.
The Hartley Bay hatchery has been in operation since 1982 and hasn’t been upgraded since its inception. The Revitalization of Salmon Hatchery and Restoration of Wetlands Project is providing the GFN with a strategy for updating their facilities and ensuring that the hatchery remains in operation since it is such a vital part of the region and the Gitga’at peoples.