The Innu community of Pessamit is located 54 km south-west of Baie-Comeau. At the mouth of Betsiamites River, Pessamit covers an area of over 252 km2. In 2012, Pessamit counted 3 609 members, among which 2,830 were living in the community. The spoken languages are Innu-Aimun and French. On the socioeconomic level, the main industries are forestry, recreational tourism and entrepreneurship. In fact, close to twenty businesses are in operation in Pessamit. Traditional activities like hunting, trapping, fishing and crafts are also enjoyed by community members. Moreover, the Pessimist Band Council has signed a partnership agreement with Hydro-Québec for the hydroelectric development of the Betsiamites River and created the Société de restauration du saumon de la rivière Betsiamites for the preservation of Atlantic salmon. Salmon fishing is still practised by community members.
Fishing and processing activities
The community of Pessamit mainly fishes snow crab, sea urchin, surfclams and Greenland halibut. To conduct these activities, Pessamit operates two boats, the Piernick and Léomina. It also operates the Jimmy’s for sea urchin fishing, in collaboration with the community of Essipit. Traditionally, the community explores the banks for soft-shell crab close to the village. Many members of the community still fish Atlantic salmon in the Betsiamites River, mainly with the gillnet.
In the processing and retail sectors, Pessamit is a member of Groupe UMEK, co-owned by the communities of Innu Takuaikan Uashat mak Mani-Utenam, Essipit, and Crabiers du Nord. The Group operates a snow crab processing plant in Sept-Îles. The community also has a long-term project of setting up a soft-shell crab processing plant in Pessamit.