Fisheries Co-management and Adaptation in a Changing Arctic: A case study of Dolly Varden char subsistence fisheries co-management in Aklavik and Inuvik

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: social sciences, fish, traditional food, fisheries assessment, dolly varden char

Principal Investigator: Patton, Eva (1)
Licence Number: 14586
Organization: University of Manitoba - Natural Resources Institute
Licensed Year(s): 2009
Issued: Aug 12, 2009

Objective(s): This case study will investigate a fisheries co-management network working on Dolly Varden char fisheries monitoring for the Beaufort Sea Coast and west side tributary rivers to the Mackenzie Delta.

Project Description: The objectives of this research are to:
1) Describe communication and knowledge sharing linkages among the network of local, regional, and government organizations involved in Dolly Varden char subsistence fisheries management processes.
2) Analyze the role of bridging organizations (Fisheries Joint Management Committee and Gwich’in Renewable Resource Board) in the fisheries co-management process.
3) Examine how integration of indigenous knowledge and science together in the co-management process informs community adaptation strategies under changing conditions.

This case study will investigate a fisheries co-management network working on Dolly Varden char fisheries monitoring for the Beaufort Sea Coast and west side tributary rivers to the Mackenzie Delta. The migratory nature of many subsistence species important to the region requires broad networks of integrated groups to fully address monitoring and management of these complex systems, which cross jurisdictional boundaries. In this case study not only are multiple levels of government agencies, community, and co-management groups involved in fisheries management but also two adjoining land claims agencies work together though their co-management boards and working groups. This case study will investigate the co-management process for Dolly Varden as an analysis of how land claims organizations such as the GRRB and FJMC work to bridge local knowledge with western science to address community concerns and natural resource management issues.

The research is designed as a qualitative analysis community based case study. The researcher will approach the study with a participatory interactive/adaptive approach in order to better represent the community concerns and questions in the assessment of the co-management process. Her methods will entail established qualitative approaches and are summarized as follows: Participant/Observation (informal discussion with people involved with Dolly Varden fisheries and co-management; travel with Aklavik fishers to observe traditional use areas, engagement in subsistence activities, and environmental observations they would like to highlight), Focus groups (meetings with the Aklavik RRC and HTC or fisheries working group members organized to receive feedback on subsistence fisheries issues that should be addressed in the interview questions), Semi-structured interviews (with Aklavik community members, RRC and HTC and Aklavik and Inuvik co-management representatives, and government fisheries biologists about the management process), Meetings observation (document process at regional meetings on subsistence fisheries management), Document review (synthesis of existing written Dolly Varden TK, research, and management reports and meeting minutes).

Interviews will be held with GRRB, FJMC, Aklavik RRC and HTC members, Dolly Varden working group members and Aklavik community members and elders recommended to interview by the RRC, HTC, or elders committees. DFO Inuvik and Winnipeg based fisheries biologists and managers will also be interviewed as well as other DFO and Environment Canada staff involved in the Dolly Varden IFMP and COSEWIC listing process.

Much of the research input is requested in the form of interviews with the Aklavik HTC, RRC, the GRRB and FJMC and local residents and working group members involved in Dolly Varden co-management that are interested in participating. The researcher will seek to hire two Aklavik residents as research assistants for Inuvialuit and Gwich'in interviews and or translator if needed. There is an educational opportunity for local student to assist with interviews if interested. Rental housing in Aklavik will be sought for approximately 1-2 months.

The researcher will provide the Aklavik RRC and HTC and the GRRB and FJMC with project preliminary results for verification.
An in-person final report will be provided if the final research budget has remaining funds for return travel. Final reports are anticipated to be completed by June 2010 in the form of a Masters Thesis. A plain language report in a format acceptable to the RRC, HTC, GRRB, and the FJMC will be provided by the end of 2010 as well.

This ArcticNet grant project is aimed at gathering information that may help to further understand and support the land claims co-management processes that facilitate or restrict community adaptation to changing conditions. Upon approval by the groups involved, this research will be presented at the ArcticNet conference in December 2009, and subsequent short documents may be published after completion of the Masters Thesis.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from August 12 to December 31, 2009, in Aklavik and Inuvik.