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Tracking the development of co-management: using network analysis in a case from the Canadian Arctic

Kocho-Schellenberg, John-Erik; Berkes, Fikret



Polar Record



To understand the interplay of factors that shape changes in management strategies, we tracked the evolution of beluga whale co-management involving the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Fisheries Joint Management Committee (FJMC), and the Tuktoyaktuk Hunter and Trapper Committee from its beginnings in the mid-1980s to the present. The objective was to analyse changes over time in the communication network involved in dealing with the Husky Lakes beluga entrapment issue, using social network analysis (SNA). Along with qualitative information, the use of SNA provided quantitative data to document the development of co-management over time. According to both government and indigenous parties, a fully functional problem-solving partnership developed over the course of two decades. Using the beluga case as the illustration, we traced the development of joint management processes, overcoming some of the initial obstacles and accommodating the needs of the various parties. This case demonstrates the importance of legal arrangements (the indigenous land claims agreement), the role of key individuals and the bridging organisation (FJMC) created by the agreement, and the maturation of co-management over time.

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