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Co‑Op Student Jessica Hurtubise Completes Summer Term

Posted by Mirjam Held on September 7, 2015 in Students

Through the TOSST (Transatlantic Ocean System Science and Technology) Undergraduate Fellowship program, Mirjam Held, Nunavut Fish-WIKS PhD student, had the opportunity to employ a student for the summer. Jessica Hurtubise, a fourth-year marine biology and oceanography student at Dalhousie, was tasked with researching, evaluating and compiling relevant information concerning past and current fisheries in Nunavut with regard to species, gear type used, landings, significance, use and revenue. 

The breadth of this project allowed Jessica to make it her own by developing it according to the data available and her particular interests. She set to work with eagerness and dedication and soon was able to present an ever- growing database that listed species hunted, their quotas and landings for different years and different regions or hamlets. The numbers revealed that the size of harvest has increased over time for most species hunted in Nunavut. Gear type has greatly changed over time as metal tools, wood, motors and explosives appeared in northern communities and also in response to climatic variations. While the introduction of harvest quotas during the second half of the 20th century restricted subsistence hunting of cetaceans, commercial fisheries continue to grow since the 1960s, targeting primarily Greenland halibut and northern shrimp. The Inuit are interested in developing future commercial fisheries in Nunavut such as invertebrate fisheries; yet such endeavours need to be managed wisely if they are to be culturally, socially, economically and ecologically sustainable.

Jessica’s research about the evolution of Nunavut fisheries, both subsistence and commercial, allows Mirjam to put her future research,which will focus on marine mammals, into a wider and historical perspective. The collaboration allowed Mirjam to gain valuable experience in mentoring and supervising an undergraduate student. Jessica was able to hone her project management skills, build on her extensive knowledge of Excel and expand her knowledge in the field of fish, fisheries and fisheries management, with a specific focus on Nunavut fisheries. Mirjam is proud to have been able to effectively spread the “Arctic bug”.

Jessica presented her work to the Dalhousie Fish-WIKS team. Later this fall she will give a poster presentation of her findings at the Sustainable Oceans Conference at Dalhousie University. The Dalhousie Fish-WIKS team wishes her all the best as she pursues an honours project with the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) during her final year of undergraduate studies.