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Studying local knowledge
Repulse Bay part of national project on fisheries management

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, March 20, 2013

An ambitious program is underway to look at how individuals and communities develop their own local knowledge concerning fish management.

The Fisheries Western Indigenous Knowledge Systems (FishWIKS) is aimed at understanding how Inuit, First Nations and Western knowledge are used in fisheries management across Canada, as well as how social, cultural, environmental and economic factors change the process.

The program is led by the University of Dalhousie and the Assembly of First Nations, in partnership with the Government of Nunavut, Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources, British Columbia First Nations Fisheries Council, and researchers from Vancouver Island University, the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph, Ont.

FishWIKS will focus on the communities of Repulse Bay, Tlaoquiaht, B.C., Nipissing, Ont., and Eskasoni, N.S.

The five-year, $3.7million project began in March 2012 and will continue until March 2017.

This past December, the FishWIKS national steering committee initiated a contest to design a logo to represent the project. The logo needed to be based on a circular medicine wheel, with each quarter representing one region.

Sarah Arnold, Kivalliq fisheries sector specialist for the Department of Environment, Fisheries and Sealing Division, said Calvin Smith won $500 for having his pencil drawing, Char Fishing by an Inukshuk, chosen as the top logo from among six entries.

She said the competition was so close, the regional committee decided to award a second prize of $200 to Ron Ullikatar for his computer-designed logo,

Sedna on an Anchor.

"In addition to how local knowledge is developed, the project will look at how Nunavut's Wildlife Management Board and Fisheries and Oceans Canada use that information when making decisions," said Arnold.

"We partnered on Repulse Bay to be able to use Inuit knowledge more effectively when management decisions are being made.

"We want to communicate with communities more efficiently to bring that knowledge into the management system.

"That's something we definitely believe in."

Arnold said her department had already done some previous work on gathering Inuit knowledge through its Nunavut Coastal Resource Inventory program, when it was approached by the University of Dalhousie about the project.

She said Smith's logo will form one-quarter of the national logo, and be used on documents related to the FishWIKS program across Canada.

"We haven't determined exactly how we'll use Ron's second-place image, but it will likely be through the website and community events in Repulse Bay.

"We've hired Lucy Tegumiar as our community co-ordinator in Repulse, and we've also worked with Denise Malliki, who does work on our research vessel the Nuliaq.

"She'll be doing some work on this project when she's not on the vessel, and we also hope to involve a number of community members with interviews, and so on, as the project moves forward."

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