Maintaining coastal and Indigenous community access to marine resources and the ocean in Canada.

Access to marine resources and the ocean is important for the well-being of coastal populations.
In Canada, the ability of many coastal and Indigenous communities to access and benefit from the ocean is a growing issue. Access for coastal and Indigenous communities should be a priority  consideration in all policies and decision-making processes related to fisheries and the ocean in Canada. Taking action now could reverse the current trend and ensure that coastal and Indigenous communities thrive in the future.

Indigenous peoples’ rights and marine protected areas.

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are inherent to international commitments to protect the oceans and have the potential to recognize, honour, and re-invigorate Indigenous rights. Involvement of Indigenous peoples in the governance and management of MPAs, however, has received little attention. A review of the literature revealed only 15 publications on this topic (< 0.5% of papers on MPAs).

Coastal and Indigenous community access to marine resources and the ocean: a policy imperative for Canada.

Access, defined as the ability to use and benefit from available marine resources or areas of the ocean or coast, is important for the well-being and sustainability of coastal communities. In Canada, access to marine resources and ocean spaces is a significant issue for many coastal and Indigenous communities due to intensifying activity and competition in the marine environment.

The continued importance of the hunter for future Inuit food security.

Inuit living in the Canadian Arctic have undergone rapid societal changes in the last half century, including moving into permanent settlements, the introduction of formal education, participation in the wage-economy, mechanization of hunting and travel, and increased consumption of store-bought foods. Despite these changes, country foods—locally harvested fish and wildlife—continue to be important in the lives of many Inuit for food security. However, fewer people are hunting full-time and some households are without an active hunter, limiting their access to country foods. This shift has increased reliance on processed foods purchased at the store to meet their daily food needs. These foods are often expensive, less nutritious, highly processed to endure long shelf lives, and less desirable than country foods. An entry point to strengthen Inuit food security is to support the acquisition of culturally-appropriate country foods through subsistence hunting and fishing. This entails supporting the transmission of environmental knowledge and land skills important for subsistence among generations, providing harvesters with necessary resources, and securing reliable cold storage in communities (e.g. community freezers) to preserve country foods during increasingly warmer summer months.

Projected scenarios for coastal First Nations’ fisheries catch potential under climate change: Management challenges and opportunities

Studies have demonstrated ways in which climate-related shifts in the distributions and relative abundances of marine species are expected to alter the dynamics and catch potential of global fisheries. While these studies assess impacts on large-scale commercial fisheries, few efforts have been made to quantitatively project impacts on small-scale subsistence and commercial fisheries that are economically, socially and culturally important to many coastal communities. This study uses a dynamic bioclimate envelope model to project scenarios of climate-related changes in the relative abundance, distribution and richness of 98 exploited marine fishes and invertebrates of commercial and cultural importance to First Nations in coastal British Columbia, Canada. Declines in abundance are projected for most of the sampled species under both the lower (Representative Concentration Pathway [RCP] 2.6) and higher (RCP 8.5) emission scenarios (-15.0% to -20.8%, respectively), with poleward range shifts occurring at a median rate of 10.3 to 18.0 km decade-1 by 2050 relative to 2000. While a cumulative decline in catch potential is projected coastwide (-4.5 to -10.7%), estimates suggest a strong positive correlation between the change in relative catch potential and latitude, with First Nations’ territories along the northern and central coasts of British Columbia likely to experience less severe declines than those to the south. Furthermore, a strong negative correlation is projected between latitude and the number of species exhibiting declining abundance. These trends are shown to be robust to alternative species distribution models. This study concludes by discussing corresponding management challenges that are likely to be encountered under climate change, and by highlighting the value of joint-management frameworks and traditional fisheries management approaches that could aid in offsetting impacts and developing site-specific mitigation and adaptation strategies derived from local fishers’ knowledge.