Shrimp Allocation Policies and Regional Development Under Conditions of Environmental Change: Insights for Nunatsiavutimmuit

Lay Summary 

This project is part of a larger research program examining the relationship between fisheries policy and regional development in Atlantic Canada’s northern shrimp fisheries. Since the extension of Canadian jurisdiction over its 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone in 1977, federal policy makers have allocated shrimp licenses and quotas to cooperatives, community based organizations, inshore fish harvesters, large fishing companies as well as Indigenous groups. However, our knowledge of the relationship between fisheries policy and regional development outcomes in this fishery remains very limited, with the exception of case studies of a few organizations and regions in southeast Labrador and in Newfoundland. Despite the long history of substantial allocations of shrimp in northern Labrador/Nunatsiavut, we know little about how effective allocation policies have been in meeting regional development goals for Indigenous communities in the region (Figure 1). The objective of this research is to build on and extend our larger research project by identifying allocation policies that have enabled Nunatsiavut communities and people to benefit from the shrimp fishery, and to identify those development benefits in a systematic way. The research findings help us meet two further practical objectives: to provide research evidence to inform federal, provincial, and municipal policymaking and decision-making and to assist regional bodies and community groups in their decision-making and activities aimed at improving social, economic, cultural, and environmental conditions.

 

The key findings of this research:

 

 

ALLOCATION POLICY AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

 

 

-The Government of Canada distributed northern shrimp allocations to Nunatsiavut interests over the last four decades within a complex policy context, with an overall objective towards supporting inshore fishery development: 
-Northern shrimp allocations have provided a crucial but often underappreciated foundation for inshore fishery development in Nunatsiavut:
-The shrimp fishery supports, directly and indirectly, hundreds of jobs and livelihoods in a region with approximately 2000 people: 
-The Nunatsiavut Government, which was established through the Labrador Inuit Land Claim Agreement, has become more engaged in fishery development in recent years: 

 

 

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

-Fisheries governance has become increasingly important with the growth of allocation holders and new fishery-based interests in the region: 
-Land claims have been an important factor in enabling groups in the region to secure shrimp allocations but problems have emerged because of interpretive disagreements over provisions involving shrimp allocations:
-Operating a commercial fishery in Nunatsiavut poses significant challenges:
-While the shrimp fishery supports hundreds of jobs in Nunatsiavut, labour conditions have become acute:
-Allocation holders in northern Labrador have mandates to use shrimp resources to benefit the people of Nunatsiavut, but allocation holders struggle with the tension between supporting socially beneficial activities and focusing on only financially viable acitivites:
-For the people of Nunatsiavut, the future will likely shine brighter if their attachment to marine resources is sustained, strengthened and diversified as environmental conditions change:

 

 

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS TO STRENGTHEN THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SHRIMP ALLOCATION POLICIES AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT OUTCOMES IN THE REGION:

 

 

-Advance government relations regarding the following areas:
-Develop a northern fisheries development strategy:
-Enhance labour relations, conditions and opportunities:
-Enhance the capacity for future collaboration and research:

 

 

The full report can be found here.

 

Departments 
Environmental Policy Institute
Geography
Funding 
Harris Centre Applied Research Fund
Communities 
Nain
Hopedale
Postville
Makkovik
Rigolet
Happy Valley-Goose Bay
Locations 
Newfoundland and Labrador
Themes 
Regional Development
Fisheries Policy
Aboriginal Affairs
Industry Sectors 
Fishing, Hunting and Trapping
Provincial and Territorial Public Administration
Aboriginal Public Administration
Start date 
1 Sep 2014
End date 
31 Mar 2017
Partner Organization 
Torngat Wildlife, Plants & Fisheries Secretariat