Canadian coastal communities are primary stakeholders in fisheries governance but continue to have little input into largely top-down and often-ineffective management policies and practices. Yet local fisher people in coastal communities such as Change Islands have intimate knowledge about marine environments and insights into management challenges associated with economic viability and fisheries sustainability. Through interviews, kitchen table mapping, and workshop sessions in the community of Change Islands, new coastal and cultural place names were identified; in addition to local perspectives on maintaining the distinct fishing heritage of coastal communities and policy options towards co-management and regional economic development. Fish harvesters further suggested several key concerns that threaten the viability of the local fishery and their fishing identities and cultures. The concerns include over-regulation and rules that do not take into account local contexts; low fish prices and increasing fishing costs; lack of value-addition opportunities; unsustainable fishing practices; increasing state rationalization policies; and lack of communication and collaboration amongst fish harvesters, processors, community planners, and fishery policy-makers. Local solutions are offered towards integrated fisheries and coastal policies that respond to the concerns of Change lslands fishing culture, identity, and regional economic development.
North Atlantic Forum 2011: Culture Place and Identity at the Heart of Regional Development