(Courtesy Heidi Swanson)

Canada invests $1.2 million to help solve mystery of dwindling char numbers in Arctic

Canada’s department of Fisheries and Oceans has announced it will give $1,261,890 over 5 years to help solve the mystery of dwindling char numbers near the Arctic Canadian community of Kugluktuk.

The money will go to a University of Waterloo research project created after hearing the community’s concerns about the changes they were seeing in fish species in their area.

The Kugluktuk Hunters and Trappers Organization said chair Larry Adjun wasn’t available for an interview when reached by Eye on the Arctic this week.

But University of Waterloo researcher Heidi Swanson said better understanding char in the region is important from both a scientific and food security perspective.

” What folks have been telling us is that there’s been major declines in the numbers of char in the past few years ,” Swanson said in a telephone interview. “And nobody really knows why. It could be water temperature. Maybe it’s increased shipping traffic. Maybe some of their stream habitat is drying out.”

The research project will focus on better understanding the migratory patterns and overwintering habitats of char. This summer and next summer, fish will be tagged to track where they go in the winter. The results will then be used to see what obstacles may be impeding migration and causing fish to get stuck or stranded and what restoration work can be done to remove any obstructions.

Feature Interview: What's happening to the char?

“We should always ground our science in what the community’s concerns and questions are,” says University of Waterloo researcher Heidi Swanson of working in the Arctic. (Courtesy Heidi Swanson)

Listen here for more of Eye on the Arctic‘s conversation with researcher Heidi Swanson:

Indigenous knowledge and science working together

Swanson said working with Inuit hunters in Kugluktuk is key to better understanding the pressures Arctic fish species are under because of environmental change.

“Across the Arctic, char numbers will go up and down in cycles,” she said. “But the thing is, the people that have been living up there know what those cycles usually  look like and (what they’re seeing now) is a change from the normal cycle.

“Food security, as many people know, is really tough in the Canadian Arctic and fish is a major source of food. People are really worried about Arctic char.

“We really want to get a handle on what these char are doing so that we can better manage them as we go into future scenarios of climate change and resource development.”

Oceans protection plan

The government’s investment in the research is part of the $75-million Coastal Restoration Fund, established to finance multiyear projects that look to protect the coastline and marine species. The fund favours projects that also include Indigenous participation.

The fund was put in place as part of Canada’s  $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan, launched in 2016.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Which fish live in Arctic Canada? Thanks to new book, we finally know, Radio Canada International

Finland:  Endangered Finnish seal population slowly recovering, Yle News

Norway: Fishing rights: Norway takes tough line against EU in Svalbard waters, the Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russian salmon farmers buy Norwegian smolt company, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden:  Record numbers for Swedish wild salmon, Radio Sweden

United States:  America’s most toxic site is in the Alaskan Arctic, Cryopolitics blog


Categories: Internet, Science and Technology
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *