Lake Trout are an important food source for people who live around Lake Laberge and Kusawa Lake. And these iconic fish are helping tell us the story of local contaminant levels in the aquatic food chain and whether they are increasing or decreasing. Greater understanding of these dynamics will help us protect the fish, the people who eat them, and the greater environment.
The Ta’an Kwach’an Council and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (who hold traditional territory on Lake LaBerge) and the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and Carcross/Tagish First Nation (who hold traditional territory on Kusuwa Lake) are working with researchers to sample fish, engage with youth and Elders, foster dialogue on contaminants, and seek local and Indigenous Knowledge.
Researchers are testing fish over time for contaminants that include trace metals (e.g., mercury, selenium, arsenic), organochlorine contaminants (e.g., PCBs, DDT), and emerging chemicals such as flame retardants and microplastics. Data collected and analyzed will help us make smart decisions about contaminant controls.