Community-identified risks to hunting, fishing, and gathering (harvesting) activities from increased marine shipping activity in Inuit Nunangat, Canada

Nicolien van Luijk, Natalie Ann Carter, Jackie Dawson, Colleen Parker, Kayla Grey, Jennifer Provencher, Alison Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The rapid increase in marine shipping activity in Inuit Nunangat (i.e. in settled land claim regions of Arctic Canada), propelled by climate change and international interest in Arctic maritime trade, has heightened concerns among Inuit communities about the risks that more ships could pose for sustainable and subsistence hunting, fishing, and gathering (berries, plants, eggs, etc.) (referred to as harvesting in this article) activities considered vital for cultural well-being and local livelihoods. As part of the Arctic Corridors and Northern Voices project, ( a series of workshops, focus groups, and interviews were conducted in and with 14 communities across Inuit Nunangat that involved 133 marine experts and 59 youth community researchers. In this paper, we present the concerns identified by Inuit and local marine users about the risks of increased shipping activity specifically with respect to harvesting activities and then identify governance needs that could support sustainability. Results of the study are organised by three major risk themes: (1) Marine ecosystem contamination and degradation; (2) Disruption to harvesters’ travel and safety; and (3) Interference and disturbance of wildlife. All of these risks negatively impact harvesting activities in Inuit Nunangat. Considering the region is expected to be ice-free in summer by the end of the twenty-first century and that subsistence harvesting is crucial to the well-being of Inuit and northern communities, it is vital that research on this topic be conducted and then considered within ongoing Arctic governance and co-governance efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24
Number of pages15
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2022


  • Arctic
  • Climate change
  • Gathering
  • Harvesting
  • Impacts
  • Inuit
  • Marine shipping
  • Policy
  • Risks
  • Subsistence hunting


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