Using Local Knowledge to Manage Coastal Environments and the Inshore Fishery

A Case Study in Change Islands, Newfoundland

The residents of coastal communities are primary stakeholders in fisheries management but continue to have little input into what are currently top-down, and often ineffective management strategies. Local people have valuable knowledge to share about the marine environment and concerns with current practices, regulations, and marketing.

Working in close collaboration with residents of Change Islands, on the northeast coast of Newfoundland, we examined the issues affecting fish harvesters and other people whose livelihoods depend on the marine environment. The main goal of our research project was to learn more about their understanding of the fishery, and to generate a dialogue about how local knowledge can be used to develop more sustainable fisheries management. For the four key issues they identified as primary concerns, a policy brief was prepared (available below) in an effort to reshape policies and make them more effective. The project also included the development of an interactive map available through this web site that you can explore to learn about the distinct heritage and way of life of fishing communities, and the role local knowledge can play in the sustainable use of the marine environment.

Policy briefs on key issues:

1. Rationalization of the Fishing Industry
2. Seafood Prices and Market Access for the Inshore Fishery
3. Fisheries Regulations that Work
4. The Viability of Coastal and Small Island Communities