Iqaluit, Nunavut – Oceans are vital to the livelihoods of communities across Canada. The Government of Canada has made tremendous strides in protecting our oceans by working in collaboration with Indigenous partners, provinces, territories, industry and other marine stakeholders. Since 2015, Canada has progressed from less than one percent to over 14 percent protection of its marine and coastal areas.
Today, in Iqaluit, Nunavut, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Joyce Murray, announced $3.53 million in funding over three years for the Spence Bay Hunters and Trappers Association, located in the community of Taloyoak, Nunavut. This funding is provided by Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Oceans Management Contribution Program, and will help develop capacity for Inuit-led ecological monitoring and knowledge gathering of the marine environment. It will also provide employment opportunities through the creation of a marine stewardship program for Aviqtuuq, an Inuit-identified priority area near the community on the Boothia Peninsula.
This Inuit-led marine stewardship program will focus on creating economic development opportunities that also protect the vital ocean and freshwater environments, such as sustainable harvests, small-scale fisheries, outfitting camps and tourism. Stewardship is considered key to the long-term conservation of these traditional lands, which aligns with Canada’s goal of increasing marine protection while providing jobs for present and future generations of Indigenous people through co-management.
Supporting Inuit organizations as they develop knowledge and grow capacity to manage local marine and coastal areas is a key priority for the Government of Canada. By continuing to work in partnership with Indigenous, provincial and territorial governments on marine conservation, we’re better investing in an effective, nature-based solution that will help stem the tide of global biodiversity loss and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
This announcement was made on the final day of Minister Murray’s tour of the Arctic Region. During this tour the Minister met with Indigenous organizations and other co-management partners and with DFO and Coast Guard staff in Yellowknife, Inuvik, Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet where she highlighted new funding under Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan for the Canadian Coast Guard and the Canadian Hydrographic Service.