Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010


Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010

Polly Wheeler , US Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, Alaska, USA. Violet Ford , Traditional Ecological Knowledge Coordinator for North America, Arctic Biodiversity Assessment, Ottawa, Canada. #20 INDICATOR Changes in harvest

Konstantin Klokov , St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia. Evgeny Syroechkovskiy , Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Moscow, Russia.

Uummannaq, West Greenland Lawrence Hislop

“…for us, so-called subsistence activity is far more than subsistence. Hunting is more than food on the table. It is a fundamental part of who we are.” Labrador Inuit Association. Presentation to Scoping Meeting, Nain, April 1997.

“Not that finding any of those eggs was easy. Wild birds’ eggs can’t just be picked up like stones; they’re tucked away in some pretty unlikely spots. Sometimes you have to do some cliff-climbing with a strong rope, then use a long piece of wire to pull them out from under the big overhanging rocks where birds hide them.” J. Iglioliorte, 1994.

The harvest of natural resources is a key feature of traditional lifestyles and economies throughout the Arctic, and a continuing reliance on it as a mainstay of indigenous existence in the north is evident. The following sections describe current trends in natural resource harvest in four regions of the Arctic: Alaska, Canada’s Northwest Territories (NWT) and Nunavut, and the Russian North.

Population/ecosystem status and trends

Alaska In Alaska, wild food harvests vary considerably by geographic area. The total harvest has been estimated at about 43.7 million pounds (approximately 19.8 million kg) of wild resources, an average of about 375 pounds (170 kg) per capita [1, 2]. This is in comparison with an estimated 16–40 pounds (7–18 kg) per capita of fish and wildlife resources harvested

by people living in urbanized parts of the state [2]. The majority of the subsistence harvest is fish (60% by weight), followed by land mammals (20%), marine mammals (14%), birds (2%), shellfish (2%), and plants (2%) [1, 2]. Subsistence harvests account for about 2% of the total fish and wildlife harvest state-wide, compared with 97% taken by commercial fisheries and 1% by sport fishing and hunting [2].

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