M.A. Candidate, Geography
Supervisor: Sonia Wesche
Collaboration with: Inuvialuit Fisheries Joint Management Committee
Research Topic: Local and Traditional Knowledge Indicators for Tracking Socio-Ecological Changes in Inuvialuit Fishing Livelihoods
Given the vulnerability of northern ecosystems and communities, socio-ecological changes in the Mackenzie Delta region of the Western Arctic have a significant impact on Inuvialuit fishing livelihoods. Local and traditional knowledge from the Inuvialuit Settlement Region offers an opportunity to learn about change in this part of the Basin which is the furthest down-stream jurisdiction. Drawing on an analysis of peer-reviewed and grey literature, and qualitative interviews conducted with 10 fishers from the communities of Aklavik and Inuvik, we examine how Inuvialuit fishers track and understand change in the Delta. Themes covered relate to a) determining the importance of Mackenzie Delta fisheries for Inuvialuit subsistence and livelihoods, b) documenting Inuvialuit knowledge about change regarding fish habitat and fishing conditions, and c) identifying how fishers track and monitor changes in the Delta. We identify a range of temporally-and seasonally-sensitive indicators used by local fishers. Changes are observed in water temperature, water levels, slumps, fish quality and delta-reliant wildlife populations.