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Ten years of Inuit co-management: advancing research, resilience, and capacity in Nunatsiavut through fishery governance

Cadman, Rachael; Snook, Jamie; Bailey, Megan



Regional Environmental Change



Community-based approaches have risen to prominence in fisheries governance as decision makers have recognized the importance of local perspectives, and Indigenous Peoples have pursued their right to self-determination. In Canada, some Indigenous Peoples have pursued a formalized approach to co-management through land claim agreements. The Torngat Joint Fisheries Board (TJFB) is one such co-management arrangement that focuses on fisheries management in Nunatsiavut, a land claim area in northern Labrador, Canada. This research examines how the TJFB’s work contributes to fisheries governance in the region, and subsequently, how co-management is placed in terms of supporting greater self-determination for Indigenous peoples in resource governance. To understand the TJFB’s role, this research examined 12 years of recorded meeting minutes from 2010 to 2021, highlighting the activities in which the TJFB engages, and how those activities have changed over time. Inductive content analysis was used to understand the activities undertaken by the TJFB, highlighting their actions as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the co-management board in practice. The analysis found that the TJFB plays important roles in research, drafting recommendations, and public education, and that their activities support greater participation from fisheries stakeholders. Land claim–based co-management has a significant impact on how Indigenous sovereignty operates and how it will evolve into the future. The TJFB’s efforts to increase research capacity in the region, push focus towards the socio-cultural dimensions of fisheries management, and strengthen the political voice of the region represent an important move toward self-determination in Nunatsiavut’s commercial fisheries.

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