Utshashumek Project: Atlantic Salmon Conservation through Aboriginal Ecological Knowledge

Monday, August 18, 2014: 5:00 PM
303A (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Soazig Le Breton , Agence Mamu Innu Kaikusseht, Sept-Îles, QC, Canada
Catherine Béland , Agence Mamu Innu Kaikusseht (AMIK), Sept-Îles, QC, Canada
Léo St-Onge , Agence Mamu Innu Kaikusseht (AMIK), Sept-Îles, QC, Canada
Claire Pédrot , Agence Mamu Innu Kaikusseht (AMIK), Sept-Îles, QC, Canada
For millennia, Atlantic salmon has been a basic staple and cultural emblem for Quebec North Shore Innus. While the change from a nomadic to a more sedentary lifestyle diminished their dependence towards salmon as a means of subsistence, most communities still practice traditional fishing. In a context of diminishing funding for public research, integrating Innu traditional knowledge into management cycles should be improved, to ensure that the practices implemented favor salmon conservation. This is especially important as Atlantic salmon is a current candidate for inscription on the Species at Risk Act. Since regaining legal access to their rivers in the 1970s, Innu communities manage salmon fisheries, using a mix of traditional and modern practices. This project, which took place in seven communities along the St-Lawrence Estuary and Gulf, gathered traditional knowledge by interviewing elders, fishermen, outfitters and managers. The data gathered spanned fishing and management practices. Participants were encouraged to share historical as well as current knowledge, and to identify trends in salmon populations and behavior. As well as writing up the first region-wide portrait of salmon use by Innus, the project identified model practices, problems and recommendations, linked to Innu fishing and management practices.