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About Nunatsiavut

Nunatsiavut is a land claim area in Inuit Nunangat, the homeland of Labrador Inuit. Labrador Inuit are deeply connected to the marine environment, including through subsistence and commercial fisheries.

Our work in Nunatsiavut is conducted through partnerships with land claim-based organizations, including the Nunatsiavut Government and the Torngat Wildlife, Plants and Fisheries Secretariat. Through these partnerships, we support research on the state of fisheries governance in the present, and into the future.

Through the Ocean Frontier Institute, we have engaged in several research projects, including:

Benthic - Inuit Relationships; How we do science matters (ongoing)

Benthic species are essential to Inuit communities.  They are an important part of culture, food security, and support many commercial fisheries.  This project seeks to illuminate the relationships between the benthos and Labrador Inuit through storytelling, participatory mapping, and network analysis. The hope is to not only provide a baseline for understanding the important roles of the benthos, but also examine how climate change impacts those roles.   Led by PhD candidate Kate Ortenzi, the project is also investigating how we normally conduct benthic ecology to see how our research methodology can be more responsive to community needs.

Photo of colourful houses set in a norther landscape.

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Imappivut capacity-sharing and data analysis

The Imappivut “Our Oceans” Knowledge Study is a participatory mapping project undertaken by the Nunatsiavut Government to collect information on how Labrador Inuit use and value the marine environment. The data will inform research and policy in the region to guide outcomes that are driven by Labrador Inuit priorities. In 2019, PhD student Rachael Cadman traveled to Nain for 3 months to co-create a qualitative data analysis plan with Nunatsiavut Government researchers to support this objective. This collaborative analysis process between settlers and Inuit scientists strengthened the research capacity of everyone involved and resulted in more reliable, rigorous results. 

Nunatsiavut fisheries

The Torngat Wildlife, Plants and Fisheries Secretariat has recognized a need for a more strategic, collaborative approach to commercial fisheries management in Nunatsiavut. In partnership with the Torngat Fish Producers Cooperative, the Nunatsiavut Government, and the Bailey lab, they have undergone a visioning process to help collectively articulate the future of fisheries governance for the region. Facilitated by PhD student Rachael Cadman, fisheries stakeholders participated in a series of interviews and workshop discussions to develop consensus on a path forward that will support a future determined by Labrador Inuit. 

Valued fisheries

High-value commercial species in Atlantic Canada are subject to climate change, environmental stressors, and intense fishing efforts, influencing their population dynamics and distributions. PhD student Kayla Hamelin is leading projects investigating the social and cultural dimensions of forage fish harvest by coastal communities in Atlantic Canada and the use of novel data sources (e.g., community knowledge) to inform conventional fisheries assessment methodologies. These projects will contribute to a more holistic approach to assessing fisheries in pursuit of full-spectrum sustainability and a more complete understanding of the benefits these high-value stocks confer to society.

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