Sub-theme 4: Aquaculture industry controversies

Participants: Camilla Brattland (lead), Einar Eythórsson, Dorothee Schreiber, Else Grete Broderstad, Cathrine Howlett, Horatio Sam-Aggrey

Objectives: This subtheme will document and compare, through defined case studies, indigenous-industry relations and the role of traditional knowledge (TEK) in environmental governance in the context of aquaculture controversies in the Canadian and Norwegian context

In both Norway and Canada, the environmental and societal impacts of salmon farming on the marine environment and indigenous peoples’ livelihoods are controversial issues. The British Columbia aquaculture conflict between global, Norwegian-owned actors such as Marine Harvest with First Nations is well-known both in Canada (Schreiber and Newell 2006a; Schreiber and Newell 2006b; Schreiber 2006; Schreiber 2002), as well as internationally (Schreiber and Brattland 2012). The duty to consult is a central issue at stake in Canadian governance frameworks, where industrial actors may consult directly with First Nations on benefit-sharing agreements. In Norway there is increasing public criticism towards the Norwegian aquaculture industry. As a case in point, the salmon farming controversy between Marine Harvest and fishers in the Kvænangen fjord has been appealed to a regional state authority by the Sami Parliament (Brattland and Eythórsson forthcoming). Little is known about direct relations between the aquaculture industry and Sami/local actors in the Norwegian context, and there is a potential for learning from similar relations in Canada. In both cases however, there are policies in place for taking into account traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) in the knowledge base for assessing environmental impacts as well as before implementing management decisions.

In the Norwegian context, and as pointed out by the call for the Sami Program II, there is a need for documentation of traditional marine use and knowledge related to the marine environment. Brattland (2012; 2013) has developed a methodology for mapping Sami marine use drawing on existing surveys conducted by the Directorate of Fisheries, which will be further developed in this study. However, pointing to the Canadian context, Schreiber points out that the discourse surrounding TEK may hamper fruitful analysis (Schreiber 2006). Rather, this project will attempt to move beyond dichotomous distinctions between "traditional knowledge" and "modern science" of aquaculture, in favour of an analysis of the shifting and strategic alliances made by indigenous leaders and their organizations with other stakeholders in aquaculture controversies. The purpose of this subtheme is thus to compare and learn from different approaches to benefit sharing agreements and inclusion of traditional knowledge in the two contexts, in order to highlight similarities and differences in Canadian and Norwegian governance triangles and/or frameworks.

The subtheme will investigate two geographical and governance contexts: aquaculture controversies in British Columbia (Ahousaht on the west coast of Vancouver Island, and the Kwakwaka’wakw territories of the Broughton Archipelago), aquaculture controversies in the Troms County (particularly centred on the Kvænangen fjord) and the two governance contexts in which the controversies are embedded. Indigenous leaders and local fishers/community members will be interviewed in both cases during a 3-5 week period. Schreiber will establish relations with First Nations and conduct interviews and fieldwork in B.C. A mapping exercise on marine areas around the island Spildra based on previous research in the field (i.e. Bjørklund 1991) will be conducted by Brattland and Eythórsson. Broderstad will conduct interviews with central actors in Marine Harvest as well as regional and national management authorities in Norway and Canada. The fieldwork is planned in conjunction with data gathering for the COREPLAN project (NRC no 255767) focusing on ecosystem services in marine systems in Canada and Norway. The case studies will also constitute part of the post-doctoral project "Arctic Governmentalities" at the Centre for Sami Studies (Brattland, 2016 – 2019). A joint publication by Brattland, Eythórsson, Schreiber and Broderstad to an international journal (yet to be decided).