Monday 3. February 2020

Community Focused Conservation Research on Salmon

Master’s students at the University Centre of the Westfjords may choose to conduct their thesis research wherever they like in the world. This goes for both the new Coastal Communities and Regional Development program as well as the established Coastal and Marine Management program. Many students choose to conduct their thesis research in the Westfjords or in other places in Iceland while others choose to venture to head back to their home countries or somewhere else in the world. Two great examples are Jade Steel and Rheanna Drennen from the Coastal and Marine Management class of 2018. Both of them went back to British Columbia, Canada, after finishing their coursework in Ísafjörður to work on community-focused conservation research on salmon.

Collaboration with the Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department

Jade is working in collaboration with ​The Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department (HIRMD) in Bella Bella, British Columbia, and with Natalie Ban from the University of Victoria. She is looking at identifying which stocks of salmon are being harvested in the community through genetic stock ID. In addition, she is conducting in-depth interviews with local Heiltsuk fishers to help understand and identify the current barriers for local salmon fishers and their ability to access salmon. This is providing an understanding of how food, social, and ceremonial salmon fishing has changed, and is continuing to change in the Heiltsuk Territory. 

For her research Jade has received a 3,000$ grant from HIRMD as well as a 2,000$ grant from Natalie Ban to help fund and pay the interviewees for their time.

Place-Based decision making on the West Coast of Vancouver Island

450 km south of Bella Bella, Rheanna is looking into the use of place-based decision making. She is investigating the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) by local governance groups to support salmon conservation and management on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, Canada. 

Her research represents the first collaboration between the University Centre of the Westfjords (UW) and Vancouver Island University (VIU), as Jamie Alley of the University of the Westfjords and Dr. Paul Zanderberg from Vancouver Island University will be supervising her research. 

The project Rheanna is part was developed in partnership with West Coast Aquatic (WCA), a regionally-based collaborative governance agency on the west coast of Vancouver Island and other stakeholders engaged in fisheries co-management discussions currently underway in the region. WCA has committed to funding Rheanna ́s research as it aligns with their work regarding the integration of science-based tools to support salmon recovery and the advancement of place-based solutions for wild salmon. The funding WCA has allocated is up to $20,000.

 


Rheanna Drennen on her last day in Iceland before heading back to Canada to  work on her thesis.
Rheanna Drennen on her last day in Iceland before heading back to Canada to work on her thesis.
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