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August 12, 2022
Iqaluit, Nunavut – Oceans are vital to the livelihoods of communities across Canada. The Government of Canada has made tremendous strides in protecting our oceans by working in collaboration with Indigenous partners, provinces, territories, industry and other marine stakeholders. Since 2015, Canada has progressed from less than one percent to over 14 percent protection of its marine and coastal areas.
Today, in Iqaluit, Nunavut, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Joyce Murray, announced $3.53 million in funding over three years for the Spence Bay Hunters and Trappers Association, located in the community of Taloyoak, Nunavut. This funding is provided by Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Oceans Management Contribution Program, and will help develop capacity for Inuit-led ecological monitoring and knowledge gathering of the marine environment. It will also provide employment opportunities through the creation of a marine stewardship program for Aviqtuuq, an Inuit-identified priority area near the community on the Boothia Peninsula.
This Inuit-led marine stewardship program will focus on creating economic development opportunities that also protect the vital ocean and freshwater environments, such as sustainable harvests, small-scale fisheries, outfitting camps and tourism. Stewardship is considered key to the long-term conservation of these traditional lands, which aligns with Canada’s goal of increasing marine protection while providing jobs for present and future generations of Indigenous people through co-management.
Supporting Inuit organizations as they develop knowledge and grow capacity to manage local marine and coastal areas is a key priority for the Government of Canada. By continuing to work in partnership with Indigenous, provincial and territorial governments on marine conservation, we’re better investing in an effective, nature-based solution that will help stem the tide of global biodiversity loss and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
This announcement was made on the final day of Minister Murray’s tour of the Arctic Region. During this tour the Minister met with Indigenous organizations and other co-management partners and with DFO and Coast Guard staff in Yellowknife, Inuvik, Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet where she highlighted new funding under Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan for the Canadian Coast Guard and the Canadian Hydrographic Service.
The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard visited Iqaluit, Nunavut to announce funding for a new marine stewardship initiative in the Arctic. Based in the community of Taloyoak, the Spence Bay Hunters and Trappers Association will focus on the Aviqtuuq area (the Boothia Peninsula.) Minister Murray was joined for the announcement by Jimmy Ullikatalik, manager of the Spence Bay HTA.
“The Inuit were the first stewards of the Arctic, and Inuit leadership is critical to protecting Northern waters today. This contribution agreement will help support members of the Taloyoak community in further growing their knowledge and capacity so that they may continue to conserve and manage their local waters. Through partnerships with Indigenous communities across Canada can protect the ocean and coastal ecosystems, reduce the impacts of climate change, while building a strong and sustainable blue economy.”
The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
“Our government recognizes that the active involvement of Inuit is essential to protect the health of our oceans. This initiative led by the Spence Bay Hunters and Trappers Association will help increase Inuit capacity for conservation of the Arctic ocean while creating jobs in Inuit communities. Inuit leadership and knowledge is an essential component to the sustainable stewardship of our Arctic marine environments.”
The Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs
“It’s a beautiful land, there’s a lot of wildlife. For it to be protected from mining and oil and gas exploration, that’s our main goal. We want our next generation, and the generations that are coming, to experience what we experienced as hunters. The marine guardian program will help us gather information to get a management plan together to keep the wildlife safe and environment clean. We want to create jobs for the future, and for Canada to come and see Aviqtuuq in its natural state.”
Jimmy Oleekatalik, Spence Bay Hunters and Trappers Association Manager and Aviqtuuq Inuit Protected and Conserved Area Project Manager
“The marine guardians announcement made me smile. In the past, money was always tight for the HTA, so I’m very happy that funding is available for marine protection. We need people to look out for what’s happening around the shores of Boothia Peninsula — anything unusual happening shipping-wise, are we getting different types of whales coming in. We’d like to learn more so that we can protect and, at the same time, harvest marine mammals. It helps our goal to go ahead with the Aviqtuuq (IPCA) project, so we can look after our land and animals and make more country food available for our community.”
Joe Ashevak, Spence Bay Hunters and Trappers Association Chairperson
“With the Aviqtuuq project, we want control over the resources that are available. I know we’re going to be hiring more guardians and doing more harvesting on marine mammal in this area, so it could be more income for the people that don’t have jobs. I’m very thankful for that. Our goal is to make it better for our community members, to enjoy the land the way it is and to enjoy the wildlife we have and protect it for future generations.”
George Aklah, Spence Bay Hunters and Trappers Association Vice Chairperson
“We are pleased with the efforts to provide opportunities for Inuit to care for their communities and environment, as this aligns with the Inuit societal value of Avatittinnik Kamatsiarniq, respect and care for the land, animals, and environment. The Government of Nunavut acknowledges capacity-building initiatives of communities, and we are excited to see Inuit lead in the collection of ecological knowledge that will inform future decisions in Taloyoak and the Boothia Peninsula.”
The Honourable David Akeeagok, Nunavut Minister of Environment
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Fisheries and Oceans Canada