Designing an Inuit-led research and monitoring plan for the Nauttiqsuqtiit, the Inuit stewards of the Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area (TINMCA)
Tallurutiup Imanga is a biodiverse seascape located in Canada’s northern territory of Nunavut. Just west of Baffin Bay, TINMCA—managed jointly by the Government of Canada and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA)—represents critical habitat for large arctic mammals, including polar bears, narwhals, and beluga whales, and serves as a key migratory corridor between Baffin Bay and the Arctic Archipelago.
Tallurutiup Imanga contains multiple polynyas, or open-water areas surrounded by ice, which host early spring plankton blooms that occur as nutrient-rich waters are exposed to sunlight. These areas are important feeding and breeding grounds for marine species that remain in the Arctic during winter and are vital to Inuit communities’ food security and culture. Unfortunately, rapid warming and increasing industrial activities in the Arctic are changing the dynamics of Tallurutiup Imanga, threatening the ecosystem and the people who rely on it.
Shari Fox worked closely with the QIA and the Nauttiqsuqtiit to co-produce a research and monitoring plan for the seascape. As the “eyes and ears” of TINMCA, the Nauttiqsuqtiit attend to their lands and waters and harvest for their communities. The plan—which is rooted in Inuit knowledge, values, and research approaches—will improve understanding of this critical area, inform strategies to identify local and regional research and monitoring priorities, and assist with observing, recording, and responding to climatic and ecological changes. As part of her fellowship, Fox is also collaborating with a team of Indigenous authors to produce a report on northern Indigenous economies, including the role of conservation economy.
To learn more about Fox, read her bio: https://nsidc.org/research/bios/fox.html