Iqaluit, Nunavut: Oceans are vital to the livelihoods of communities across Canada. We’ve made tremendous strides in protecting our oceans, by working with provinces, territories, Indigenous peoples, and other marine stakeholders.
In less than five years, Canada has progressed from less than one percent to almost 14 percent protection of its marine and coastal areas.
The announcement of the expansion of the Nauttiqsuqtiit (Inuit Stewardship) Program in the community of Sanikiliuaq was made by Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs and Olayuk Akesuk, Acting President of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA), on behalf of Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard First piloted in 2018, and now operational in Arctic Bay, Clyde River, Grise Fiord, Pond Inlet, and Resolute Bay, the Nauttiqsuqtiit Program supports Inuit leadership as environmental stewards to guide marine conservation and management in the Qikiqtani Region.
Today’s announcement will see $3.45 million invested over the next two years to support the launching and development of the Nauttiqsuqtiit Pilot Program in the community of Sanikiluaq.
The program will provide employment opportunities, and support Inuit led research and monitoring activities to ensure Inuit knowledge is used to inform marine management in Qikiqtait (Belcher Islands).
By continuing to work in collaboration with Indigenous, provincial and territorial governments, the Government of Canada is committed to protecting and conserving 25 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2025, working towards 30 per cent by 2030. Marine conservation is an effective nature-based solution that will help stem the tide of global biodiversity loss and mitigate impacts due to climate change.
Bernadette Jordan said: “Inuit were the first stewards of the Nuna, and their knowledge and leadership is critical to protecting its natural environment today. By partnering with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, we can better protect marine ecosystems, combat climate change, and build a stronger, more sustainable blue economy in the North.”
Olayuk Akesuk, Acting President of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, said: “The expansion of the Nauttiqsuqtiit program across the Qikiqtani Region is vital to our blue economy strategy. This program is a driving force in the diversification of the Inuit economy—it brings in healthy country food, and provides support for safe on-the-land travel. We are pleased with today’s announcement and look forward to other opportunities to work with our federal partners.”
Daniel Vandal noted: “This week’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report has provided a stark reminder of the challenges we face due to global climate change, which are being felt the strongest in Northern communities. Now more than ever, we must build upon Indigenous knowledge to develop new ways of addressing common challenges. The agreement with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association represents another step forward.”
• The Government of Canada has committed to conserving 25 per cent of Canada’s land and oceans by 2025. Budget 2021 provided $976.8 million over five years for the establishment and management of new marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, working with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous governments, and stakeholders.
• In June 2022, Canada will take centre stage in advancing discussions and global cooperation on marine conservation at the 5th International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5).