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Ringed Seal Monitoring and Planning Workshop

Ringed Seal Monitoring and Planning Workshop

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Title: Ringed Seal Monitoring and Planning Workshop
Author: McCarney, Paul
Thiemann, Gregory W.
Furgal, Chris
Ferguson, Steve
Description: Ringed seals (Pusa hispida) are the most abundant seal in the Arctic. They are an important traditional food for Inuit throughout Nunavut, and ringed seal skins are an important resource used for clothing and other products. Ringed seals rely on first-year sea ice as a platform for resting and moulting (shedding old hair and replacing it with new growth) and they construct birth lairs beneath the snow for protecting pups against both predators and weather. In many parts of their range, ringed seals feed on fishes and other organisms associated with epontic (under-ice) biological communities. Ringed seals are therefore an important species to monitor as they are vulnerable to changes in environmental conditions, such as ice extent and thickness, snowfall, and abundance of other marine species. Changes in ringed seal health will also affect the health of Inuit communities. In particular, there have been advisories on the consumption of ringed seal liver as a result of contaminants and pollutants. Ringed seal research programs exist across the Canadian Arctic, especially in the eastern Arctic, and involve the participation of local hunters in the collection of samples and data. There is growing interest among communities and researchers in expanding both the focus of research and the communities involved. We held a workshop in Iqaluit, NU on March 6-7, 2014, that invited researchers, managers, community members, and students to discuss knowledge and issues around ringed seal research in Nunavut. The purpose of the workshop was to provide an opportunity to exchange knowledge, identify information gaps and priorities, plan for future collaborative and community-based research on ringed seals, as well as identify management and community concerns. The workshop involved 10 community members from across Nunavut; 14 researchers from universities and government; 5 staff from Nunavut government departments and management organizations; 2 representatives from Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated; a representative from the Nunavut Research Institute; and 14 students from the Environmental Technology Program (ETP) at Nunavut Arctic College. The workshop structure involved breakout sessions during which small groups shared their perspectives about specific topics, followed by plenary sessions where each breakout group reported the main points from their discussions to the full group. Breakout sessions focused on 1) identifying knowledge priorities, 2) the communication and use of knowledge, and 3) identifying a set of next steps for future action. Questions that were brought up throughout the plenary sessions were also recorded, and an additional breakout session was dedicated to providing groups with a chance to respond to those questions that were relevant to them.
Sponsor: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (Nunavut General Monitoring Plan and Northern Contaminants Program), Government of Nunavut, Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, World Wildlife Fund Canada, Environment Canada
Type: Technical Report
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/31615
Date: 2016-07-29

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada