Can Small-Scale Commercial and Subsistence Fisheries Co-Exist? Lessons from an Indigenous Community in Northern Manitoba, Canada

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"Subsistence (or food) fisheries are under-studied, and the interaction between subsistence and commercial fisheries have not been studied systematically. Addressing this gap is the main contribution of the present paper, which focuses on how to deal with the challenge of overlapping commercial and subsistence fisheries. The study was conducted in Norway House Cree Nation, with qualitative data collection and questionnaire surveys. Commercial fishing in Norway House takes place during spring/summer and fall seasons, whereas subsistence fishing takes place throughout the year. Commercial fishing mostly occurs in the open waters of Lake Winnipeg; subsistence fishing in rivers adjacent to the reserve and in smaller lakes inland. How do fishers and the community deal with overlaps and potential conflicts between the two kinds of fisheries? The main mechanism is the separation of the two temporally and spatially. In the remaining overlap areas, conflict resolution relies on monitoring of net ownership and informal communication. The first mechanism is regulatory but really de facto co-management in the way it is implemented. The second is consistent with Cree cultural values of respect, reciprocity and tolerance."
conflict resolution, indigenous institutions