OUR VISION is to strengthen and empower a unified approach for Indigenous fisheries, supporting ecosystems and respected rights ensuring food security and health for all communities and the next seven generations.

Who We Are

IMAWG is made up of 15 member First Nations from the three language areas on Vancouver Island: Coast Salish, Nuu-chah-nulth and Kwakwaka’wakw. These areas encompass all First Nations on Vancouver Island, the adjacent mainland and Central Coast (up to and including Kitasoo).

Our Mission

IMAWG aims to support and restore Indigenous fisheries comprehensively, fostering collaboration with all Vancouver Island and Mainland Inlet communities. Strategically, it will advance Indigenous fisheries concerning policy, traditional ecological knowledge, modern science, habitat, stewardship, protection, and management.

Our Purpose

The main purpose of IMAWG is to facilitate meetings between Indigenous Organizations and the Government for discussions on fisheries management. Empowering Indigenous Communities involves distributing current information and policies, while supporting reconciliation with DFO and ensuring diligent follow-up on commitments and action items.

What We Do

We assist island and marine approach area First Nations in the following ways:

  • Communications with Fraser Watershed and North Coast First Nations on fisheries issues. Includes all marine species, as well as Fraser Salmon.

  • Helping with communications amongst the member nations, to develop positions and initiatives in regard to fisheries issues.

  • Helping to understand and interpret information provided to them by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), particularly through the development of First Nations technical support.

  • Assist our member nations in their communications with DFO on fisheries issues through distribution of information, and by participating in agenda creation and helping to organize Tier Two meetings.

  • Providing up-to-date information, technical advice, and recommendations to empower rights-based fisheries. Advice is shared with Indigenous groups, fisheries organizations, partners, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.


Background/Timeline of IMAWG


  • Started as Island Fraser River and Approach Working Group (IFRAWG)
  • Funded under other A-Tlegay Fisheries Society supporting Vancouver Island Fraser River Engagement.
  • Changed name to Island Marine Aquatic Working Group.
  • PICFI funding for biologists.
  • Council of Ha’wiih Partnership
  • First Nations Fisheries Council Partnership
  • Management Action Tracker
  • Constitution and Bylaws created
  • Annual planning started
  • Started Island Specific Tier One and Two
  • Species: salmon, crab, herring, prawn and halibut with participation in “Roadmap”


  • Incorporation as a Society
  • Board of Directors
  • First Strategic Plan
  • Hired two P/T biologists
  • Island Marine Aquatic Technical Working Group created
  • Funded under Qualicum and Mama’omas Limited Partnership
  • Supported the Fraser Salmon Management Council transition
  • Regional Engagement with BC Indigenous Organizations
  • Social Media and Newsletters
  • Professional meeting minutes


  • PICFI funding removed
  • Annual Cultural Relationship Workshop with DFO started
  • IMAWG President and DFO Area Director Quarterly Meetings
  • Annual Data Management Workshop started
  • Funding independent; supported by Board of Directors and Accounting Team
  • Annual Governance Workshop with DFO started
  • Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance partnership & Creation of Operational Guidelines with DFO
  • Action Planning Meetings (Post Tier Two) started & meeting report cards started
  • Access and Allocation Framework Process to Engage to DFO
  • Annual Reconciliation Workshop & Develop of a new Strategic Plan
  • Increased Continuity of IMAWG Members & Tier Three participation as Observer
  • Pacific Salmon Commission, Fraser River Technical as Observer
  • Action Planning Summaries to replace redundant Tier letter process


  • Negotiated Funding for Members Professional Services
  • Pivot to Online Engagements due to COVID-19
  • Granted a BCSRIF for Vancouver Island Salmon Committee
  • Field Equipment Rental Program for Indigenous organizations
  • Providing Advice to AAROMs on Improved Collaboration
  • Increasing Communication through Social Media
  • Changing DFO Engagement Structure to Focus on Technical Building

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