The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) is asking the public for help collecting fish samples in a new voluntary community fish sampling program. 

The territorial government is partnering with the federal government to study the extent of contamination in the environment from former mining operations around Yellowknife.

A human health risk assessment is being done to help understand the effects of this contamination on people who have cabins, and hunt, fish, or hike and camp around Yellowknife.

But there is limited data available on fish from inland lakes around Yellowknife, so this program will help to address the data gap.

“We’ve established a fish sampling program for local residents to submit fish tissue and to support the analysis work so we can fill those gaps,” said Erika Nyyssonen, Senior Advisor at ENR.

“That program has gone live today, so we’re encouraging people wherever you’re fishing to submit a fish sample wherever you’re eating that fish.”

Nyyssonen said the program is looking at areas to the northwest of the Giant Mine site, but also any recreational lakes specifically along the Ingraham Trail where residents might be fishing.

“We want to target the areas where people have cabins and camp and fish,” said Nyyssonen.

The program is looking for fish samples from Walsh, Banting, Prosperous, Prelude, River, Pontoon, Madeline, Ryan and Landing Lakes, but will also accept samples from local residents from and additional lakes used for fishing.

Nyyssonen said the program will be testing the fish for arsenic, antimony and mercury.

Samples can be dropped off at the North Slave Regional Office on Bretzlaff Drive and will be accepted until July 16.