One of the large differences between wildlife management in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) versus the majority of Canada is that a number of federal responsibilities have been transferred to or are shared with Inuvialuit and co-management organizations that were established pursuant to the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA) signed in 1984. For fish and marine mammal stocks in the ISR, the FJMC, the Inuvialuit (Inuvialuit Game Council, Inuvialuit Hunters and Trappers Committees) and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) are the organizations responsible for management.
Working together – what has made the co-management of fish and marine mammals in the ISR successful?
- The FJMC has legislative authority through the IFA: responsibilities have been clearly outlined, providing focused efforts and decision-making authority (not just an advisory role).
- Federal funding for fisheries management research and monitoring in the ISR is allocated by the FJMC: this allows for direct control towards the prioritization of research efforts, which is essential for maintaining independence in decision-making.
- Shared responsibility: the FJMC, the Inuvialuit and DFO have the authority and responsibility to manage fish and marine mammal resources cooperatively. The Inuvialuit are actively involved in the management of their own resources.
- The FJMC is formed by Inuvialuit and Canada members: encourages support from both working partners and a balanced approach to management.
- FJMC commitment: essential in gaining support from the Inuvialuit and DFO.
- Transparency: open process has enhanced community trust and support.
- Regular communication between FJMC, the Inuvialuit and DFO: essential to effective co-management.
- Trust and respect: co-management partners have developed strong working relationships over the years by incorporating different views, knowledge sources (science and traditional / local) and opinions into management decisions.
- Focus on adaptive co-management: a continuous cycles of reviewing and revising management measures (e.g., identifying management options –> establishing monitoring programs –> development of stock indicators for assessment –> tracking management decisions –> evaluating management measures and outcomes –> revising management strategies as needed).
For more information on fisheries co-management in the ISR: