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Inuit traditional knowledge shaped commercial fishing ban for the High Arctic December 04,2017   |  Source: CBC

Inuit traditional knowledge played a role in developing a ban on commercial fishing in the High Arctic.

Canada and the four other countries with Arctic coastlines signed the agreement last week. China, Japan, South Korea, the European Union and Iceland also signed on. Inuit from three countries, including Canada, were also represented.

There is currently no commercial fishing in the region but the area is becoming increasingly free of ice, opening the possibility the region could see commercial vessels.

"It's the first agreement of its kind that involves Indigenous people," said Herb Nakimayak, vice president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada, which was part of the negotiations.

"In the past Inuit have always advocated for Indigenous and traditional local knowledge to be a part of any decision-making process."

"This agreement is … the first of its kind that actually has that."

The ban will last at least 16 years and covers the high seas of the Central Arctic, which is about 322 kilometres offshore. It is not expected to have an impact on existing Indigenous harvesting.

"Current fisheries — Indigenous fisheries — in the North will not be affected," said Nadia Bouffard, director general for fisheries renewal at the Department of Fisheries and


© 2017 CBC/Radio-Canada

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