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The Canadian perspective on issues in Arctic fisheries management and research



American Fisheries Society Symposium



The nature of fisheries management and research in the Canadian Arctic is undergoing significant evolution. This is driven by diverse outside factors such as increasing human population, empowerment of aboriginal groups through settlement of land claims, renewable and nonrenewable resource development, global concerns with environmental issues and conservation, and reform in the roles and responsibilities of government. These changes present significant challenges for management and research pertaining to Arctic fish. These challenges are further complicated by the practical problems faced by Arctic resource managers and researchers - poor or nonexistent scientific databases, too many management units spread over a large geographical area, limited (and decreasing) program resourcing, and logistical problems and high costs associated with Arctic work. Clearly, fisheries management and research in the Canadian Arctic must change to keep pace with these issues. Management structures have evolved to the concept of comanagement organizations, which have been formalized in many cases as legislated comanagement boards. Research structures have lagged behind somewhat but are also evolving. The concept of cooperative research projects that are designed to address localized, site-specific fisheries management issues but also are components of longer-term, more global research programs is advanced to meet this need. In this way, the shorter-term needs of resource users and managers can be met while greater fundamental understanding of biological processes can also be achieved. Together, these activities will allow us to meet the goals of conservation and sustainable development for Arctic fisheries.

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