Connecting small scale fisheries, indigenous groups, and scientists in support of sustainable fishing and equitable blue carbon outcomes in the changing Arctic

25 March 2024 | 08:30 - 12:30 (UK) 

Open Session - HYBRID 

Room:  Holyrood (JMCC)

Organiser:  Jacqui Vogel; Julia Mason (Environmental Defense Fund, United States)


Draft meeting agenda

Event Description:

Melting sea ice, shifting fish stocks and other rapid ecological changes are altering the seascape of the Arctic ocean and creating new opportunities for resource extraction, spatial utilisation, and geopolitical conflict. Amid these increasing uncertainties, there is a growing interest in blue carbon as a vital component of climate-resilient ocean governance, with the Arctic being an especially interesting area in which to consider this topic. In order to holistically manage interlinked ocean uses, promote community wellbeing, protect fragile ecosystems, and maintain the Arctic ocean’s role in climate stabilisation and mitigation, there is a need to coordinate research programs, integrate Indigenous and Traditional Knowledge (ITK), and mobilise this collective knowledge toward effective and equitable policies.

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is a global nonprofit organisation that conducts science-based policy advocacy for climate change adaptation and mitigation, with decades of experience working with governments, industry, and communities in sustainable fishery management, convening researchers, and building lasting coalitions. The Arctic ocean and potential emerging fisheries are priority areas for research coordination and policy advocacy to mitigate fishery-related conflict and protect key ocean processes for stabilising the climate. As we look to intentionally and effectively engage with research in the Arctic, we hope to bring our work on science and policy expertise on climate resilient fisheries management to bear to enhance ongoing research in the region while avoiding duplication by building partnerships, supporting communities, providing convening space and policy advocacy pathways for other research efforts. Specifically, we are interested in supporting efforts to bring together the Arctic science community, including local expertise, around evaluating the carbon sequestration potential of Arctic benthic sediments and mesopelagic species, and promoting cooperative transboundary management of shifting fish stocks. Community engagement and incorporation of Indigenous worldviews and knowledge will be critical to developing inclusive and equitable policies. 

We invite potential partners and collaborators to join a discussion around the development of inclusive ITK and science-to-action pathways for governance of emerging fisheries and blue carbon resources in the Arctic. A specific goal will be the incorporation of ITK and Indigenous worldviews into international ocean governance processes to articulate values of fisheries and marine ecosystems that go beyond their commodification potential to encompass their role in the climate system, food security, and community wellbeing. Doing so will help to promote holistic, resilient, and equitable management of emerging resources in the Arctic.