Green Urchin: An Example of Alternative Fishery Development By North Shore Innu Communities

Tuesday, August 19, 2014: 2:10 PM
303A (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Pierre Léonard , Conseil de la Première Nation des Innus Essipit, Essipit, QC, Canada
Catherine Béland , Agence Mamu Innu Kaikusseht (AMIK), Sept-Îles, QC, Canada
Majoric Pinette , Conseil des Innus de Pessamit, Pessamit, QC, Canada
Serge Langelier , Agence Mamu Innu Kaikusseht (AMIK), Sept-Îles, QC, Canada
Since becoming important players in Quebec North Shore commercial fisheries, Innu aboriginal communities have developed expertise related to many species. The diversification of their fishing activities has led to the development of alternative fisheries such as whelk, sea cucumber and green urchin. A green urchin fishery, jointly operated by the communities of Essipit and Pessamit within the limits of the Saguenay-Saint-Laurent Marine Protected Area, is presented as an example of sustainable fishery management. The current management scheme was implemented following an inventory and evaluation of urchin biomass. It aims at ensuring the sustainability of the species within this productive ecosystem, as well as the durability of the fisheries, both aspects being strongly advocated by the involved Innu communities. Management decisions are made by consensus, through the meetings of a management committee, comprised of Innu and non-Aboriginal fishermen, as well as government and park representatives. The committee periodically revises fishing practices to protect urchin density, upon which reproductive success hinges. Considerations relating to the species’ conservation as well as the success of the management process as also presented.