Project Dashboard


  • NIRB File No:


  • Application No.:


  • Project Type:

    Scientific Research

  • Project Name:

    Toward a Sustainable Fishery for Nunavummiut (TSFN)

  • Queen's University
  • Virginia K. Walker
  • 116 Barrie St.
  • Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6 Canada
Primary Contact
External Links

We propose to collect water samples from traditional and new fishing sites associated with the Gjoa Haven community. Our goal is to examine the microorganisms that inhabit the water and by identifying them, determine if these bacteria and fungi have a role in fish health and immunity. We believe that the microbes associated with fish can be influenced by their natal waters and thus we will concentrate on waters linked with Arctic char and whitefish populations, both of which are of interest to the community. As well, it is a major goal to assess if there are levels of microplastics in the water that could be of concern. Poor land and recycling practices can result in the loss of plastic wastes into water but the presence of micoplastics in Arctic waters, in particular, has been under-researched. These can be hazardous to juvenile fish and thus have the potential to disrupt traditional fisheries. Microplastics can also absorb persistent organic pollutants. Field researchers, accompanied by local Inuit guides, have provided fish samples at sites covered by an exploratory fishing license in the Lower Northwest Passage (LNWP) in 2016. This current proposal is to sample water at some of these fishing sites and other sites as directed by Gjoa Haven community members. Water (3-4 liters each) will be sampled in triplicate within the LNWP as outlined by the project map. The water will be filtered so that microorganisms can be captured and identified, and the water chemically analyzed for algae pigments such as chlorophyll. Microplastics will be sampled with plankton nets and water samplers. Sampling will take place on selected sites on the ice and water, in the ocean and on lakes beginning in May 2017 and concluding in December 2019. Transportation to these sites will be provided by community snow machines and boats as well as the Martin Bergman, subject to her sailing schedule. No structures will be erected, but at sites more distant to the community a temporary camp with a tent will be set up. The methods chosen have a very low impact on the environment with only a small amount of water filtered with the bulk of the water returned unharmed and unspoiled to the water column. No hazardous waste will be generated. As part of the larger project, “Towards a sustainable fishery for Nunavummiut”, this project hires community harvesters and fishers for sampling, invests in harvesting equipment purchases for the community, and hopes to increase capacity by training youth in the sampling and collection activities. In addition, we hope that with the water research described here, it will increase our understanding of fish health at traditional and new fishing sites of interest to the community.

Assessment Phase / Activity
  • Application screening started 2017-03-29
  • Date NIRB Decision Due set 2017-03-29
  • Commenting period 2017-04-10
  • Received Comment submissions from Parties: Notice re comments received 2017-04-19
  • Board voting 2017-05-03
  • SDR Issued 2017-05-05
  • NOI Issued 2017-05-05
  • SDR Issued 2017-05-09
  • NOI Issued 2017-05-09
  • Application screening completed 2017-05-09
  • Received Project Licences, Permits and Authorizations from AA 2017-05-16
  • Received Annual Report from Proponent 2018-01-29
  • Kitikmeot
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