The Mackenzie Basin in northwestern Canada is a high-latitude region, with one of the largest watersheds in the world. The Mackenzie great lakes, consisting of Great Bear Lake, Great Slave Lake and Lake Athabasca form the large lake complex. The human presence in the area is small in terms of population and industry and thus these ecosystems remain comparatively pristine and show no major changes in the fish communities. Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE), the most important and most used ecosystem trophic network modelling tool to study the ecosystem-level responses to changes, and information available in the scientific literature together with traditional knowledge about Great Slave Lake and Great Bear Lake was used to elucidate the ecosystem attributes. Our models give a cohesive view of these two ecosystems that will allow researchers and decision makers to explore questions regarding the stability of fisheries and future ecological change. The moderate trophic level of fish catch along with the small percentage of primary production required to sustain fisheries in both lakes demonstrated that fisheries were sustainable during the time period modelled. The ecosystem indices and attributes of the comparatively pristine Mackenzie great lakes were compared with those of two Laurentian Great Lakes having similar types of Ecopath ecosystem models. The metrics utilized to assess comparatively the ecosystem's maturity, stability and health indicated a decline in ecosystem maturity and stability from pristine Great Bear Lake to transitioning Lake Ontario.

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