Wildlife and Migratory Birds

Currently, aboriginal people in British Columbia are exempt from provincial licence requirements for hunting wildlife and migratory birds. The Final Agreement will fully integrate Nisga’a hunters and trappers into the provincial wildlife management system. Annual management plans will specify the methods, times and locations of the Nisga’a hunt for domestic purposes. An advisory body representing all three parties will work to ensure that provincial standards for conservation and enhanced management are met. The Nisga’a will not be able to sell wildlife, but can continue to trade and barter with other aboriginal peoples. The public will have opportunities to hunt and fish on Nisga’a Lands.


The Nisga’a will receive a portion of the annual Total Allowable Harvest for moose, mountain goat and grizzly bear in the Nass Wildlife Area, which comprises Nisga’a Lands and some surrounding Crown land. The treaty allocations ensure opportunities for other aboriginal and non-aboriginal hunters.

Nisga’a hunting will be subject to conservation, public health and public safety requirements, and will not interfere with other authorized uses of Crown land or the ability of the Crown to dispose of Crown land.

The Nisga’a will not be able to sell wildlife, but can continue to trade and barter with other aboriginal peoples.


The Nass Wildlife Area will be established, consisting of Nisga’a Lands and some surrounding Crown lands. This area was established to define the area where the Nisga’a can exercise their treaty right to hunt. An annual management plan will determine the Total Allowable Harvest for this area and the Nisga’a will be able to make recommendations regarding conservation and management to the Minister responsible.

The planning and conduct of Nisga’a hunting and wildlife management in the Nass Wildlife Area will be developed by a Wildlife Committee with nine representatives: four from the Nisga’a and British Columbia and one from Canada.

The Nisga’a will provide an annual management plan to the Wildlife Management Committee, setting out the Nisga’a hunting activities for the year, including harvest levels and the method and timing of the hunt. The Wildlife Management Committee will then submit the plan for approval to the Minister responsible.

  Once an annual management plan is approved, the Nisga’a will have the authority to manage their hunting under this plan. This will include distribution entitlements, licensing, monitoring and reporting. Nisga’a hunters in the Nass Wildlife Area will be subject to the management plan, the provincial Wildlife Act and laws of general application.

Public Hunting

The public will have opportunities to hunt and fish on Nisga’a Public Lands, which are Nisga’a lands other than village or private land. The public may be required to obtain a permit so public access can be monitored. The Final Agreement requires that the Nisga’a ensure that any permit must be reasonably available at reasonable cost.

The Nisga’a may regulate public access to Nisga’a Lands, but only for the same reasons that licencees and lease holders are able to limit access to Crown land: public safety, the prevention of nuisance or damage, the protection of sensitive habitat areas or cultural and historic sites, and the prevention of harvest or extraction of Nisga’a resources.

Fishing guides and people operating traplines on Nisga’a Lands will continue unaffected by the Final Agreement. The Nisga’a will receive an angling guide licence which will operate under provincial law. The one vacant trapline on Nisga’a Lands will be transferred to the Nisga’a.

The Nisga’a Lands are within the largest guide outfitting territory in the province, which will remain in place. If the current licence holder gives up the territory, the Nisga’a will receive a guide outfitting tenure over a portion of the area and the remainder will be available through the tenure system. The Nisga’a tenure would operate under provincial law.

The Nisga’a will have the opportunity to hunt migratory birds within the Nass watershed. Nisga’a hunting of migratory birds will be subject to provincial laws of conservation, public health and safety.

The Nisga’a will receive a commercial recreation tenure covering several areas in the Nass Wildlife Area. This tenure allows for non-exclusive commercial/recreational use of the land and does not deny others access.

For further information on this or other topics, contact:

Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs
Communications Branch
4th Floor, 908 Pandora Avenue
Victoria BC V8W 1X4
Telephone: 1-800-880-1022