Akwesasne Mohawk Territory – The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne has enacted its Wildlife Conservation Law [19/85] to ensure the survival of our fish and wildlife species, to stock the rivers surrounding our territory, and to ensure that the ecosystems within our community are viable, clean and protected.
In accordance with the Conservation Law, our Conservation and Compliance Officers enforce the law to protect what we have worked hard to maintain – the beauty and viability of our rivers and lands.
We welcome surrounding communities to partner with Akwesasne to conserve all rivers and wildlife for future generations.
“The Mohawks of Akwesasne have made great strides over the past fifteen years in restocking our rivers with fish, and ensuring their survival,” states Kawehnoke District Chief Brian David. “We take our responsibility to the environment and to the rivers very seriously. It is nice to be an angler, but to be responsible you have to be a total fisherman. You have to think about what you’re taking out and what you are not replacing. You have to think about how your fishing day will affect the overall ecosystem of the river. It’s taken us fifteen years to stock our river, and it is our responsibility not to allow it to become depleted the way it was in the past.”
Seasonal fishing permits are issued by the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Akwesasne Justice Department , and are available at local marinas and at the MCA Conservation offices in the village of Kanatakon (St. Regis). The fishing/angling licensing fee is $5 for a three-day permit or $10 for the season, which offsets some of the costs of Conservation patrols that protect our species from over-fishing, stop potential polluters from abusing one of the world’s largest freshwater bodies, and ensure that boater’s safety procedures are followed.
The MCA Conservation and Compliance Officers are mandated to enforce the Akwesasne Conservation law, which has been enacted to protect and conserve wildlife and habitat. MCA Conservation officers are also mandated to ensure that all Boaters Safety regulations are followed, for the protection of the operators and passengers of watercraft on the rivers surrounding Akwesasne. In accordance with the Akwesasne Conservation Law, a Conservation Officer has the right to confiscate the boat if found to be in violation of the law.
Throughout the years, MCA Conservation and Compliance Officers have assisted many people, including people from surrounding communities, in watercraft that have broken down – towing them back to mainland, at no charge. Officers also ensure that watercraft operators have the proper boat safety equipment, and are in compliance with operating regulations. Our Conservation Officers have cited boaters who were in possession of alcoholic beverages, as drinking and operating a boat is just as dangerous as drinking and operating a car.
The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne currently has plans to expand the river stocking program to include other native species, as the current program is limited to walleye. As for the enforcement of the Akwesasne Conservation Law, Grand Chief Mike K. Mitchell states that,
“the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognizes that Indigenous nations have the right to make their own laws, and this is exactly what the Mohawks of Akwesasne have done for themselves, in the interest of conserving and protecting our natural environment. The MCA Conservation Program will continue to conserve and protect our waters and wildlife, and ensure that generations to come will enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.”