A Half Century in the Making: Governing Commercial Fisheries Through Indigenous Marine Co-management and the Torngat Joint Fisheries Board

  • Jamie Snook
  • Ashlee Cunsolo
  • Robyn Morris
Part of the Springer Polar Sciences book series (SPPS)


A network of Indigenous co-management organizations is alive and robust within the management of fisheries in Canada and, subsequently, forms an important part of Arctic marine governance. This chapter examines Indigenous co-management in the Labrador Inuit Settlement Region of Nunatsiavut, Labrador through a case study of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement and the Torngat Joint Fisheries Board (TJFB). Through an analysis of the continuum of control of fish management policies in Nunatsiavut, and the resulting social, ecological, and economic outcomes, of Northern Shrimp, Snow Crab, and Arctic Char case studies, this chapter will illustrate the opportunity to engage the co-management organizations and processes to create more value for Inuit communities, and opportunities to facilitate further Indigenous participation in fisheries – engagement which ultimately will create healthier communities and ecosystems. In so doing, this chapter argues for a shift away from legal interpretation of the land claims documents, and calls for more emphasis to be placed on the spirit and intent of these documents in order to encourage and initiate dialogues and actions that are intended to meet and exceed the objectives of the land claims themselves.


Indigenous co-management Land claims Marine governance Nunatsiavut Torngat Joint Fisheries Board Arctic Reconciliation Inuit 



This chapter would not have been possible without the support of the Torngat Joint Fisheries Board (Chesley Andersen, David Bonnell, John Mercer, Derrick Pottle, Craig Taylor, and Keith Watts), past board members (Eric Andersen, Joey Angnatok, Ricky Edmunds, Stanley Oliver, Alphonsus Pittman, and Alex Saunders), colleagues at the Torngat Wildlife, Plants and Fisheries Secretariat (Rosamond Andersen, Aaron Dale, Victoria Neville, Beverly White, and Bryn Wood), and past Torngat Secretariat colleagues (Julianna Coffey and Julie Whalen). Thanks also to the University of Guelph Department of Population Medicine. The work of the Torngat Joint Fisheries Board is tripartite funded by the Nunatsiavut Government, Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Maps and figures created by Bryn Wood of the Torngat Secretariat.


  1. Armitage, D., de Loë, R., & Plummer, R. (2012). Environmental governance and its implications for conservation practice. Conservation Letters, 5(4), 245–255. Scholar
  2. Ayles, B., Bell, R., & Hoyt, A. (2007). Adaptive fisheries co-management in the Western Canadian Arctic. In D. Armitage, F. Berkes, & N. Doubleday (Eds.), Adaptive co-management: collaboration, learning and multi-level governance (pp. 125–150). Vancouver: UBC Press.Google Scholar
  3. Barley Kincaid, K., & Rose, G. A. (2014). Why fishers want a closed area in their fishing grounds: Exploring perceptions and attitudes to sustainable fisheries and conservation 10 years post closure in Labrador, Canada. Marine Policy, 46, 84–90.
  4. Berkes, F. (2009). Evolution of co-management: Role of knowledge generation, bridging organizations and social learning. Journal of Environmental Management, 90(5), 1692–1702.
  5. Berkes, F. (2010). Devolution of environment and resources governance: Trends and future. Environmental Conservation, 37(4), 489–500. Scholar
  6. Bickmore, A. K. J. (2002). Evaluating the Co-management Institutions created by the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement and the Inuvialuit Final Agreement with Planning Criteria. (Master of Urban and Regional Planning Masters), Queen’s University.Google Scholar
  7. Colbourne, E., Holden, J., Senciall, D., Bailey, W., Snook S., & Higdon, J. (2016). Physical oceanographic conditions on the Newfoundland and Labrador shelf during 2015. Research document 2016/079. Canadian science advisory secretariat. Newfoundland and Labrador Region, Fisheries and Oceans Canada.Google Scholar
  8. Community Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador. (2015). Newfoundland and Labrador’s vitalsigns. Retrieved from
  9. Coombs, R., Coffey, J., Dale, A., & Snook, J. (2010). Northern shrimp policy paper: An analysis of the development and management of the nunatsiavut pandalus borealis fishery. Torngat Secretariat.
  10. Coombs, R., Dale, A., & Snook, J. (2011). A socio-economic analysis of the nunatsiavut snow crab fishery. Torngat Secretariat.
  11. Dale, A. (2009). Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and adaptive co-management: A case study of narwhal co-management in Arctic Bay, Nunavut. Retrieved June 21, 2010, from ProQuest Digital Dissertations database (AAT MR54226).Google Scholar
  12. DFO. (n.d.). Arctic char management plan for Northern Labrador. Department of Fisheries and Ocean.Google Scholar
  13. DFO. (2007). Integrated fisheries management plan: Northern Shrimp, northeast Newfoundland, Labrador coast and Davis Strait, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Resource Management – Atlantic, Ottawa.
  14. DFO. (2016). Assessment of Newfoundland and Labrador (Divisions 2HJ3KLMNOP4R) Snow Crab. Science Advisory Report2016/013. Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat. Fisheries and Oceans Canada.Google Scholar
  15. Ford, J. D., Bolton, K. C., Shirley, J., Pearce, T., Tremblay, M., & Westlake, M. (2012). Research on the human dimensions of climate change in Nunavut, Nunavik, and Nunatsiavut: A literature review and gap analysis. Arctic, 65(3), 289–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Furgal, C., Durkalec, A., Wilkes, J., Winters, K., Pilgrim, A., Webb, R., …, & Wilson, K. (2016). Nunatsiavut land use, knowledge and connection to place study. Nunatsiavut Government.Google Scholar
  17. Hayes, K. (2000). Walking together: An evaluation of renewable resource co-management in the Yukon territory. (Master of Environmental Design Masters), University of Calgary.Google Scholar
  18. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. (2015). Comprehensive claims. Retrieved from
  19. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. (2016). Inuit. Retrieved from
  20. Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. (2016). Inuit are an indigenous people living primarily in Inuit Nunangat. Retrieved on December 12, 2016, from
  21. IPCC. (2014). In V. R. Barros, C. B. Field, D. J. Dokken, M. D. Mastrandrea, K. J. Mach, T. E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K. L. Ebi, Y. O. Estrada, R. C. Genova, B. Girma, E. S. Kissel, A. N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P. R. Mastrandrea, & L. L. White (Eds.), Climate change 2014: Impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Part B: Regional aspects. Contribution of working group II to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. (1975). Retrieved December 12, 2016, from
  23. Kendrick, A. (2003). Caribou co-management in northern Canada: Fostering multiple ways of knowing. In F. Berkes, J. Colding, & C. Folke (Eds.), Navigating social-ecological systems: Building resilience for complexity and change (pp. 241–267). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Kofinas, G., Herman, S., & Meek, C. (2007). Novel problems require novel solutions: Innovation as an outcome of adaptive co-management. In D. Armitage, F. Berkes, & N. Doubleday (Eds.), Adaptive co-management: Collaboration, learning and multi-level governance (pp. 249–267). Vancouver: UBC Press.Google Scholar
  25. Labrador Inuit Association. (1977). Our footprints are everywhere. Ottawa: Dollco Printing.Google Scholar
  26. Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. (2005). Retrieved December 10, 2016, from the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada Web site:
  27. Ludwig, D. (2001). The era of management is over. Ecosystems, 4(8), 758–764. Scholar
  28. May, A. (1966). Biology and fishery of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhue morhua L.) from Labrador (PhD Thesis). Retrieved from
  29. McDowell, G., & Ford, J. (2014). The socio-ecological dimensions of hydrocarbon development in the Disko Bay region of Greenland: Opportunities, risks, and tradeoffs. Applied Geography, 47, 98–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Michaud, W. K., Dempson, J. B., & Power, M. (2010). Changes in growth patterns of wild Arctic Charr (Salvelinus alpinus (L.)) in response to fluctuating environmental conditions. Hydrobiologia, 650(1), 179–191. Scholar
  31. Ministerial Advisory Panel. (2016). Report of the ministerial advisory panel: External review of the department of fisheries and oceans’ last-in, first-out (LIFO) for the Northern Shrimp fishery. 22 June 2016. Retrieved from
  32. Nadasdy, P. (2007). Adaptive co-management and the gospel of resilience. In D. Armitage, F. Berkes, & N. Doubleday (Eds.), Adaptive co-management: Collaboration, learning and multi-level governance (pp. 208–227). Vancouver: UBC Press.Google Scholar
  33. Natcher, D. C., & Hickey, C. G. (2002). Putting the community back into community-based resource management: A criteria and indicators approach to sustainability. Human Organization, 61(4), 350–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Natcher, D. C., Davis, S., & Hickey, C. G. (2005). Co-management: Managing relationships, not resources. Human Organization, 64(3), 240–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Norsworthy, P., Snook, J., & Whalen, J. (2012). Scientific Research Needs: Sustainable Management of Snow Crab (Putjoti) in Labrador. Torngat Secretariat.
  36. Office of the Minister. (2016). Minister LeBlanc Accepts Key Recommendations of Advisory Panel on LIO [Statement]. Retrieved from:
  37. Pinkerton, E. (1999). Factors in overcoming barriers to implementing co-management in British Columbia salmon fisheries. Ecology and Society, 3(2). Retrieved December 10, 2016, from
  38. Plummer, R., & Armitage, D. (2007). Crossing boundaries, crossing scales: The evolution of environment and resource co-management. Geography Compass, 1(4), 834–849. Scholar
  39. Plummer, R., & Fennell, D. (2007). Exploring co-management theory: Prospects for sociobiology and reciprocal altruism. Journal of Environmental Management, 85(4), 944–955.
  40. Rennie, H. (1989). North Labrador and the Torngat Co-op: An exploration of Checkland’s soft systems methodology through its application to fisheries development., Memorial University of Newfoundland. Retrieved from
  41. Rodon, T. (1998). Co-management and self-determination in Nunavut. Polar Geography, 22(2), 119–135. Scholar
  42. Rose, G. A. (2007). Cod: The ecological history of the North Atlantic fisheries. St. John’s: Breakwater Books.Google Scholar
  43. Schartup, A. T., Balcom, P. H., Soerensen, A. L., Gosnell, K. J., Calder, R. S. D., Mason, R. P., & Sunderland, E. M. (2015). Freshwater discharges drive high levels of methylmercury in Arctic marine biota. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(38), 11789–11794. Scholar
  44. Snook, J. (2005). Labrador: Organized into a knot? History of the Combined Councils of Labrador. The Seventies, Eighties, Nineties and Twenty First Century. (Local Economic Development Program Diploma), University of Waterloo,
  45. Snook, J. (2010). Lessons learned from the implementation of tripartite-funded co-management boards. (Master of Arts in Conflict Analysis and Management Thesis), Royal Roads University, Proquest. Retrieved from
  46. Stevenson, M. G. (2006). The possibility of difference: Rethinking co-management. Human Organization, 65(2), 167–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Them Days. (2015). Them Days stories of early Labrador: Nunatsiavut. 1 Dec 2015. Happy Valley-Goose Bay: Them Days Archives and Publications, 2015.Google Scholar
  48. Torngat Fish Producers Co-op. (2016). TFPC snow crab history: 1997 to 2016. Presentation at the 8th Annual Nunatsiavut Fisheries Workshop November, 2016. Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL.Google Scholar
  49. Torngat Joint Fisheries Board (Producer). (2011). Legacy for life. Retrieved from
  50. Torngat Joint Fisheries Board. (2014a). Northern shrimp co-management in shrimp fishing area 5. Torngat Wildlife, Plants & Fisheries Secretariat. Retrieved from: http://www.
  51. Torngat Joint Fisheries Board. (2014b). Snow crab c-management in and adjacent to the Labrador Inuit settlement area. Torngat Wildlife, Plants & Fisheries Secretariat. Retrieved from:
  52. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Honouring the truth, reconciling for the future. Summary of the final report of the truth and reconciliation commission of Canada. Google Scholar
  53. United Nations. (2008). United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. United Nations.
  54. White, G. (2008). “Not the Almighty”: Evaluating aboriginal influence in northern land-claim boards. Arctic, 61(Suppl. 1), 71–85. Retrieved November 25, 2016, from
  55. White, G., & Alcantara, C. (2016). Institutional design and Inuit governance: Nunatsiavut and Nunavut compared. Paper presented at the Inuit Studies Conference, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.Google Scholar
  56. Williamson, T. (1997). From Sina to Sikuialuk: Our footprint. Mapping Inuit environmental knowledge in the Nain district of northern Labrador.Google Scholar
  57. Woollett, J. (2007). Labrador Inuit subsistence in the context of environmental change: An initial landscape history perspective. American Anthropologist, 109(1), 69–84. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Torngat Wildlife, Plants and Fisheries SecretariatLabradorCanada
  2. 2.Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary CollegeUniversity of GuelphONCanada
  3. 3.Labrador Institute of Memorial UniversityLabradorCanada

Personalised recommendations