18 Nunavummiut learn how to track fish populations

The Nunavut Community Aquatic Monitoring Program has helped people in Igloolik and Coral Harbour learn the skills they need to keep track of fish populations in their communities.

Igloolik, Coral Harbour also use program to understand how to develop commercial fisheries

A program led by the territorial government is teaching Nunavummiut how to take care of aquatic environments.

The Nunavut Community Aquatic Monitoring Program, or N-CAMP, taught 18 people in Igloolik and Coral Harbour the skills to keep track of fish populations in their communities by catching and measuring fish, and then recording that information.

"A lot of the participants were really eager to learn and really helpful," said Alex Flaherty, coordinator of N-CAMP.

In each community, participants took part in classroom sessions and also went out in the field, sampling Arctic char at Atikittiq, a lake west of Igloolik, and at Quraluk, a river north of Coral Harbour on South Hampton Island.

Both communities have exploratory licenses for those bodies of water from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Once a license is granted, the fish population has to be monitored for five years.

Sarah Arnold is a fisheries sector specialist for the Kivalliq region with the Department of Environment.

"We have gone in and helped the community to collect the first year as well as trained the community members and then they will continue collecting that information for the next four years."

Arnold says so far the program has been a success, and instructors with N-CAMP are going to continue their efforts to help communities develop economic ideas, like commercial fisheries, while being active participants in fisheries conservation.