Indigenous peoples’ rights and marine protected areas
Marine protected areas (MPAs) have the potential to recognize, honour, and re-invigorate Indigenous rights and support biodiversity conservation. This paper is a review of global case studies examining the inclusion of indigenous rights within marine planning processes. Special reference is given to the ongoing government-to-government collaboration in BC within the MPA network planning process.
Indigenous knowledge contributes to crab management and conservation
Dungeness crab are an important part of our culture as a traditional source of local food for our Nations. As recreational and commercial fishing pressure has increased over time, the decline in the local abundance of crab has made it harder to catch enough to meet our food needs. However, long-term scientific data to support management actions for central coast crab are sparse. In this paper, the local and traditional knowledge of our fishers is used to fill in gaps in existing scientific data and provide new insights into changes in central coast crab populations. Results uncovered severe declines in crab populations since the 1990s, while illustrating that our fishers’ local and traditional knowledge can make important contributions to crab management and conservation.
Indigenous knowledge illuminates yelloweye rockfish population declines
Yelloweye rockfish are important components of marine ecosystems and they also have cultural and commercial value as a source of food. In recent decades this species has been experiencing dramatic declines in size and abundance on the central coast of BC. Our people’s knowledge of this species goes back decades further than any scientific dataset, and is the best source of data on historical yelloweye populations in this region. This paper, published by scientists at the University of Victoria and CCIRA, illustrates how our traditional and local knowledge has enhanced our understanding of changes in yelloweye populations over the past 65 years. This work also serves as a template for integrating indigenous knowledge into research and management of other fisheries in Canada and elsewhere.
Declining size and age of rockfishes
Our fisheries and science coordinators, Madeleine McGreer and Alejandro Frid, have published a new paper showing that recent declines in the size and age of rockfishes in our territories are rapid, strong, and appear to be ongoing. These species, that our Nations rely on for food and cultural sustenance, are at historical low levels of abundance. Since older, bigger rockfish produce more young than smaller, younger fish, the authors suggest that managers strive to restore old and large fish to aid the recovery of central coast rockfish populations.
Rockfish conservation and indigenous rights
Our science and fisheries coordinators, Alejandro Frid and Madeleine McGreer, just published research by our Nations linking the ages and sizes of rockfish in our territories to our indigenous right to harvest wild food for food and cultural practice. The research found that Yelloweye and Quillback rockfishes were larger in areas with lower fishery pressure. Possibly due to overfishing, however, old-aged Yelloweye rockfish were rare. Because older fish produce more larvae that survive better and grow faster, this finding raises concern about the conservation status of Yelloweye. The research also suggests that Rockfish Conservation Areas—where non-indigenous fisheries are excluded—can protect First Nation’s access to rockfish, as long as habitat suitability and effective monitoring and enforcement are included in spatial management.
Dungeness crab and spatial closures
CCIRA’s science and fisheries coordinators, Alejandro Frid and Madeleine McGreer, recently published results our on-going Dungeness crab research. Research results confirm the hypothesis that fisheries decrease the abundance and size of exploited species, but spatial protection can reverse these effects. Read about it in global ecology.
Dungeness crab research by the wuikinuxv nation
Our ongoing field studies are monitoring the status of Dungeness crab throughout our territories. This report presents interim results from a tagging study conducted by the Wuikinuxv Nation during May of 2014 at two sites in Rivers Inlet.
Social and economic assessment and analysis of first nation communities
A social and economic assessment and analysis of First Nation communities and territorial natural resources in the region. Project components include a community survey to create a demographic profile of First Nation communities on the Central Coast and a commercial economic assessment of marine resource sectors in the region.