Eskasoni currently has one commercial license for harvesting gaspereau (Alosa pseudoharengus) in the Bras d’Or Lakes. Gaspereau are harvested for bait for other fisheries, and commonly sold fresh but can be salted and sold for other markets. It has become an important source of income for some people in Eskasoni.
Over the past four years, UINR sampled this fishery and collected traditional knowledge from the fishers. Since the monitoring began, we noticed a change in catch composition. Fish are smaller, weigh less, and are spawning younger than fish from other areas, such as Margaree River. In 2005-2006, the majority of the landings were 3-year olds, many of which never spawned before. Since 2006, efforts have been on-going to improve the population structure. Last year, the season was reduced by one day for the 3-4 week fishery. This year, it was reduced to a 2-week fishery from 27 May-8 June. Over time, these efforts will help improve size and allow more gaspereau to spawn at least once before capture. This plan will continue until 2009.
Waycobah NROs also assisted UINR by taking samples from one of their community members who holds a gaspereau license. At present, Eskasoni is the only community that has active participation by fishers to develop a management plan.