Feds to invest more than $2.5M in Nunavut fisheries projects

Two Nunavut-based fisheries research and training projects will receive $2,593,900 over four years from CanNor.

Projects will focus on turbot in Qikiqtarjuaq, Baffin Island

Turbot fishing on Eclipse Sound. A Nunavut Fisheries Association project is receiving federal funding to study offshore and inshore turbot fishing off the coast of Baffin Island. (Submitted by Alex Flaherty)

The Government of Canada says its investing more than $2.5 million over four years in two fisheries research and training projects in Nunavut.

The Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, or CanNor, announced Tuesday it's investing $2,067,770 in a four-year research project off the coast of Baffin Island.

The project, run by the Nunavut Fisheries Association (formerly the Nunavut Offshore Allocation Holders Association) will examine the commercial viability of porcupine crab, offshore and inshore turbot and look at better trawling technology.

"By providing investments in research, training and infrastructure we are helping to grow an industry worth millions and provide employment to those living in Northern communities," Navdeep Bains, the minister responsible for CanNor, said in a statement.

CanNor said it's also devoting $526,130 over two years to develop the inshore turbot fishery in Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut. As part of the project, experienced Pangnirtung fishermen will provide training to local fishermen. The money will also go toward installing a walk-in, energy-efficient freezer to store fish.

The territorial Department of Economic Development and Transportation is also investing $369,720 in the project and the hamlet is contributing $23,300.

More money to restore coastal ecosystems

Late week the federal government announced other funding for Nunavut-based fish research projects. It said it's investing $1,261,890 over five years in University of Waterloo projects that will help identify and restore coastal ecosystems in northern Canada.

The university is set to work with the Kugluktuk Hunter and Trappers Organization to identify migratory patterns and overwintering habits of Arctic char and Dolly Varden trout in the Coppermine River and other river systems near Kugluktuk, Nunavut. 

Arctic char and a fishing hook near Resolute, Nunavut. The University of Waterloo along with the Kugluktuk Hunter and Trappers Organization will study and develop a restoration plan for Arctic char and Dolly Varden trout in the Coppermine River. (Genevieve Dubois)

Heidi Swanson is an assistant professor with the University of Waterloo's biology department and has been working on and off with subsistence fishers in Kugluktuk for over a decade.

Last year, she said local fishers raised concerns that Arctic char runs had been declining in the Coppermine River and they wanted to know why.

"We were really trying to aim for this to be community-driven research ... The questions came from the community," she said.

The study will also include a restoration plan for one to two high priority streams that support fisheries and are subject to low-flow events and fish stranding — when a fish is found dead on the water or shore, or unable to return to the water under its own power.

Funding for the project comes from the $75 million Coastal Restoration Fund, which supports projects that contribute to coastal restoration in Canada with a focus on multi-year projects that include Indigenous groups.

It's part of the $1.5 billion federal Oceans Protection Plan, which aims to protect Canadian coasts and waterways.


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