Weaving ways of knowing to better manage capelin in the Northwest Atlantic


This week’s Lunch Lecturer is Chelsea Boaler, PhD-student in Fisheries Science and University Centre alumna. In her talk Chelsea will present research findings from her PhD-project which focuses on the management of capelin. Capelin (Mallotus villosus) is an important forage fish for piscivorous predators in North Atlantic waters and holds a range of subsistence, commercial, and intrinsic values. These values, however, may be shifting as capelin dynamics have changed. In recent years, there has been variability in the timing, locations, and tactics of capelin spawning in Labrador and the eastern Quebec Lower North Shore. Further, two spawning runs have been observed in Northern Labrador, suggesting potential mixing with the Arctic stock. These changes have important implications for the marine social-ecological system. As such, this research aims to answer the following questions: (1) How has capelin spawning demonstrated temporal and spatial variability over time? (2) How do current spawning dynamics expand on genetic and morphological information regarding stock structure? (3) What is the socio-cultural importance of capelin and how do these observed changes influence wellbeing within coastal communities? and, (4) How can we weave ways of knowing to sustainably manage this species? As genetic and phenotypic analyses distinguishing stock structure offer only partial information, we use a mixed-methods approach with citizen science initiatives, community knowledge sharing, participatory mapping, and knowledge-holder interviews. Our preliminary results confirm the spatial-temporal shifts observed across Newfoundland spawning grounds are also prevalent across the study area and that community wellbeing has been negatively affected due to such changes. We continue to expand on how generational resource knowledge is contextualized within colonization and institutionalization, and how management in North Atlantic Canadian waters can be improved to include all pillars of sustainability.

Chelsea is originally from the Canadian prairies and has always been fascinated by the ocean. She completed her BSc at Dalhousie University in Marine Biology and Environmental Sustainability on the east coast of Canada before continuing her studies at the University Centre of the Westfjords with the Masters of Resource Management Program. Here, she met her best friend who eventually brought her to the beautiful island of Newfoundland where she worked as Lead Environmental Co-ordinator for a local company on multiple projects. After two years, she enrolled with the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University where she is currently pursuing her PhD in Fisheries Science. Her current work is focused on knowledge and systems, science communication, and community wellbeing around fisheries. Outside of Chelsea's research interests, she is passionate about health and wellness, and can be found adventuring with her partner, daughter, and 100 pound puppy dog.

Lunch Lectures take place in the University Centre cafeteria Fridays 12:10-13 and are open to all. Welcome!

Chelsea Boaler.