Walleye in a net close up 2023 11 27 04 55 34 utc
Walleye in a net close up 2023 11 27 04 55 34 utc

Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Releases a Statement Following Oneida Nation Fishing Incident

Apr 19, 2024

AKWESASNE — (Onerahto:kha/April 19, 2024)    

In light of a recent incident within the Oneida Nation involving unauthorized fishing within their boundaries, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council stresses the importance of respecting the sovereignty and rights of other Haudenosaunee Territories.

Spring is a time of renewal. As water temperatures rise in our rivers and wetlands, many species of fish are engaging in spawning behavior ingrained in their DNA. A naturally spawning and self-sustaining fish population is an irreplaceable resource. The spawning behavior also concentrates fish in ways that makes them vulnerable to over-harvest, which can cause severe damage to the population.

During the spawning period, fish dedicate a lot of their energy towards spawning. The production of eggs by females has a significant burden on their bodies. For walleye (skakahráksen), large gravid females can carry up to 500,000 eggs. Walleye spawn multiple years once they reach reproductive maturity and can live for up to 17 years.

The taking of spawning females results in a loss of thousands of fish over multiple years.

Our traditional practices as Onkwehón:we include spearing for fish as an effective means to sustain our families. In carrying out these practices, we have a responsibility to respect the resources and give thanks.

These responsibilities include sustainable harvest and exercising restraint to ensure that future generations can enjoy the resource.

Regarding hunting, gathering, and fishing boundaries, clear communication and understanding are an extension of our relationship, and ensures a continued harmonious connection between our communities.