Fish are collected from estuarine or coastal waters in Hudson Bay and there are no traditions of offshore fishing. Fishing is a traditional social and cultural activity. The Anadromous Arctic char is most sought after in Inuit in Nunavut and Kuujjuarapik in Nunavik. Preferred reasons are predictable times, locations, growth, large size and no interference. Further south, they collect anadromous cisco, whitefish, long-nosed sucker, and trout.
Most fish are caught using nets found near communities on coasts or estuaries. However, subsistence fishing is not limited in terms of fishing ground, season or harvest. Capelins are also harvested when they spawn on beaches. The subsistence harvest of cod and sculpin on the east side of Hudson Bay is much greater. Commercially marine fish have not been found in sufficient quantities to support a marine fishing in Hudson Bay or James Bay.
Small commercial fishing for anadromous Arctic char has been developed near the shore of Kivalliq and Puvirnituq. It has an international standard meat processing plant that processes fresh and frozen Arctic char for sale to domestic and international markets. This fish processing operation did not receive enough fish to consistently cover the operating costs. Transportation is a special problem for these fishermen. Fishermen often participate in commercial fishing to subsidize their subsistence harvest. Commercial harvesting of coastal and estuarine fish, especially Arctic coal, is also carried out by many communities on the Quebec coast during the summer months. Commercial harvest quotas are opened at these locations upon the request of Hunter and Trapper Organizations. Commercial fishing is closely regulated, however, overharvesting may occur in areas where subsistence fishing is concentrated. There is no sea cup fishing in Hudson Bay or James Bay, and most sport angling is done by local residents, mostly for Arctic char.
Hudson Bay Fishing Assessment
Fisheries assessment mainly uses trend analysis in age structure, with the exception of the virtual population analysis approach used for the final formal assessment of the Diana River stock on the Kivalliq coast. However, data limited models have been applied for historical.
For most fish stocks in the Chukchi Sea, the stock size is insufficient to support commercial activity. Three stocks, the snow crab, Arctic cod, and saffron cod are large enough to support commercial activity. Very few formal stock assessments have been made, but density-based estimates were used for the assessment. The stock size has been extracted from the catch-up effort data obtained from the surveys.
The nature of Siberian fishing is relatively unknown because reviews, if any, are published in Russian and are not widely disseminated. Fisheries are likely to be similar to Canadian coastal and inland fishing, these are catch fishing that are judged using gillnets and usually catch various species during their migration for spawning or overwintering. There are many large rivers in Siberia and are along the coast as Chum Salmon, Orcorhynchus keta, Lena River. Fishing is probably on Pacific salmon, broad whitefish, inconnu, Arctic Cisco and Arctic char.
The Arctic region differs greatly in the nature of fisheries and in stock valuation practice. The differences are great in marine areas compared to freshwater fishing. For example, the Barents Sea is comparable in size and latitude, with large-scale industrial fishing with a total harvest approaching 2 million tons, mainly bottom trawl harvest. The Beaufort Sea, an area in comparison, has a very small proportion of the harvest from subsistence activities. The basic species are very different in that the Barents Sea is dominated by underground fish, especially the Gadiods. Fishing in the Beaufort Sea is mainly marine mammals and anadrom fish such as the Dolly Varden char. Stock assessment of Barents Sea fisheries is highly complex, involving the use of various analytical population models such as extended survivors analysis. Conversely, with the exception of the Dolly Varden char’s recent assessments, the Beaufort Sea stocks are not modeled and only indicative values are used in the assessment.
There is probably less variation in the nature and assessment of freshwater fishing. A large part of freshwater fishing is judged as catch fishing using nets. The assessment is mainly concerned with demographic trends in age, although overproduction and age-structured models are applied in the analysis. Data-limited assessment tools hold great promise for freshwater assessments. It is likely important to combine fishermen and indigenous traditional knowledge with methods such as the traffic light approach.
Hudson Bay Complex LME supports approximately 60 fish species, which consists of a mixture of Arctic marine, estuarine and freshwater species. This shallow LME lacks the deep water species that live in the Hudson Strait. Cree and Inuit fishermen catch most fish from estuarine or coastal waters during the open water season. Fishing is mainly for food and is a traditional social and cultural activity. Abused species include anadromous cisco, whitefish, longnose sucker, brook trout, capelin, cod, sculpin, and blue mussel (Mytilus edulis). Important in this LME is the largely undeclared subsistence fishing of local Inuit and Indian populations.
Twenty-one communities in Hudson Bay use their resources and the human population of these communities increased from approximately 4,000 in 1950 to over 19,000 in 2001. The prey consists mainly of Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) and cod (Gaddda). This is the case although some other species have been taken, including Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and four-horned sculpine (Triglopsis quadricornis).
In 1950, the estimated subsistence catch was about 2,920 tons and peaked at 4,922 tons in 1962, then declined to about 1,000 tons in the early 2000s. Much of the decline over the past few decades is attributed to the snowmobile replacing dog sledding as the main mode of transport, thus reducing the need for marine fish as dog food.
Author: Ozlem Guvenc Agaoglu