Hot Off the Press: Reconciling Social Justice and Ecosystem-Based Management in the Wake of a Successful Predator Reintroduction

Evelyn Pinkerton, Anne Salomon and Frank Dragon have a paper that was published today in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. It suggests that in the case of sea otter recovery on the west coast of North America, not only is Canada’s Species at Risk Act in conflict with Indigenous rights, but how also there are equity and social justice gaps in the principles of ecosystem-based management (EBM).

The paper explores evidence of sea otter management among precontact Northwest Coast societies and a contemporary co-managed system proposed by the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations that would combine research with refinement of traditional hunting practices. It shows that barriers persist through lack of knowledge of past controlled hunts, ignorance of recent experiences of successful community-based clam management, distrust of Indigenous capacity to self-manage or co-manage a hunt, and divergent values among actors.

Lots of the ideas contained in this paper come from the Coastal Voices project, so it is great to see this knowledge being broadcast to larger international science audiences!

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Steering Committee & Community Partners Review & Approve Final Results & Write Up from Community Survey Interviews

What a nice present just before Christmas! Jenn has heard back from all of the Coastal Voices Steering Committee members as well as the community leaders and liaisons from the Kyuquot-Chekleset First Nation and Port Graham / Nanwalek Sugpiaq Tribes who have reviewed and approved the draft manuscript that describes all the analysis, results, and interpretations from the community surveys and workshops we did in 2016. The title of the paper is “Enabling coexistence: Navigating predator-induced regime shifts in human-ocean systems” and we look forward to submitting it for publication in 2019. We’ll also be creating a summary report for the communities so we can share these findings more widely. Stay tuned!

Top right: Community workshop in Nanwalek, Alaska. Bottom: The completed pile of survey-interviews from people in Kyuquot. Right: Jenn interviewing Pat Norman, Chief of Port Graham, Alaska.

Top right: Community workshop in Nanwalek, Alaska. Bottom: The completed pile of survey-interviews from people in Kyuquot. Right: Jenn interviewing Pat Norman, Chief of Port Graham, Alaska.

Anne & Kii'iljuus Present at Elakha Alliance Sea Otter Status of Knowledge Symposium

Anne and Kii’iljuus Barb recently returned from a quick zoom down to Oregon to give the opening talk at the 10th annual Elakha Alliance Sea Otter Status of Knowledge Symposium. The purpose of this symposium was to share information, research, and lessons learned about the recovery of sea otters in regions all up and down the Pacific coast. Speakers included scientists, Indigenous knowledge holders, managers, and graduate students - all sharing their expertise and discussing the interactions and complexities linked to the re-introduction and recovery of sea otter populations.

The whole presentation was recorded and you can watch Anne and Kii’iljuus give their talk at this YouTube link. You can also watch ALL the video presentations from the Symposium here.

Kii’iljuus opened the event by acknowledging the land they were gathered on. This is a common protocol in BC to recognize the many unceded First Nations lands we gather on - but this is not a very common protocol in Oregon and other places in the USA. She continued to introduce the Coastal Voices project, expressing a deep gratitude for all the knowledge that has been contributed by project partners, participants, and the steering committee. The presentation showed this wonderful quote to express some of that knowledge and the value of understanding the long and complex human-otter relationships that have existed for millennia.

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Anne continued after Kii’iljuus, and they both alternated telling the stories about deep time and recent history, sea otters direct and indirect ecosystem effects, and the relationship between Indigenous people and sea otters in the past, present, and looking forward. The audience was very grateful for this diversity of perspectives and asked lots of great questions during and after the presentation was over. Overall, it was a great opportunity to share the Coastal Voices work.

Trip to Bella Bella to Present to the Heiltsuk Integrated Management Department

Last week Jenn went to Bella Bella in Heiltsuk Nation territory to present the ongoing Coastal Voices work to the staff of the Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department. It was great to be back in Bella Bella, as we have been engaged in research linked to sea otter recovery in Heiltsuk territory (and the adjacent Wuikinuxv territory) for many years now. It was fun to review all the work that the Salomon Lab and the Coastal Voices team have done: dive surveys, underwater experiments, sea otter foraging surveys, fish capture surveys, kelp harvest studies, interviews, workshops, documentary films! So much! Overall, the presentation was well received and there is much enthusiasm for this work to continue.

Jenn with Kelly Brown (H.I.R.M.D Director) and Mike Reed (H.I.R.M.D. Aquatics Manager)

Jenn with Kelly Brown (H.I.R.M.D Director) and Mike Reed (H.I.R.M.D. Aquatics Manager)

There was also a chance to do some great kelp forest and sea otter lessons in the Bella Bella elementary school. This was particularly fun because the students asked wonderful questions and were really interested in the underwater videos and the clips from the Coastal Voices documentary film.


Thanks for a wonderful visit!


Giving Public Presentations about Sea Otter Recovery All Around Vancouver

Over the past 6 months, Jenn has been busy presenting to many groups around Vancouver to teach them about kelp forests, sea otter recovery, and the cool work Coastal Voices has been doing to capture Indigenous perspectives on the changes that sea otters bring to their communities. She spoke at the Beatty Museum of Biodiversity in Nov, Nature Vancouver in Feb, at a Burnaby Naturalists meeting in March, and at a Chilliwack Naturalists meeting in April. Not surprisingly, people found the videos and stories from the Coastal Voices work to be very illuminating – they are looking at sea otters in ways they hadn’t considered before!

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Trip to Tofino to Present to the Nuu-chah-nulth Council of the Ha’wiih

We just got back from a great weekend in Tofino where the Coastal Voices Team – Kii’iljuus, Anne and Jenn – were invited to present at the Nuu-chah-nulth Council of the Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries.


It was great to see many friends and familiar faces. We gave an hour presentation that covered the topics outlined below. In particular, Anne and Kii’iljuus requested permission to continue on with this work, as there is still much to do! There was some great discussion afterwards and some really good questions asked. And importantly, the room full of Nuu-chah-nulth Chiefs granted permission for ongoing work. Yay!


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Although we were exhausted from a long day of travel, preparation and presentations…. we felt we should still enjoy some west coast waves before heading home – so the team went for a morning surf (after fresh snowfall)!


Coastal Voices Team go to Stockholm for the Resilience 2017 Conference

Kii’iljuus, Anne and Jenn just returned from Sweden after attending the Resilience 2017 conference hosted by the Stockholm Resilience Centre. At this conference, we shared presentations featuring the research amassed via Coastal Voices. In a special session about ‘Weaving Social Justice into Resilience Theory & Practice’’ put together by Anne and colleagues, Kii’iljuus gave a talk on ‘Indigenous Rights, Food Security and Regime Shifts on Canada’s West Coast.

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In another session focused on ‘Adapting to Coastal Transformations’ hosted by Jenn and her colleague, Jenn gave a talk on “Navigating Transformation Linked to Predator Recovery and Regime Shifts in Temperate Human-Ocean Systems”.

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Our presentations were well received and people asked a lot of good questions! Many people who work in coastal systems in other parts of the world are excited to know more about the work from Coastal Voices and see how our research and learning platforms continue to develop.