Human Ecology

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 563–574 | Cite as

Blundering Intruders: Extraneous Impacts on Two Indigenous Food Systems

  • Nancy J. TurnerEmail author
  • Fikret Berkes
  • Janet Stephenson
  • Jonathan Dick


Indigenous communities commonly face a major impediment in their ongoing efforts to participate effectively in the stewardship and sustainable management of their traditional lands, waters and resources. Externally driven projects and policies can overwhelm communities' abilities to respond, severely impact in their resource base, and significantly eclipse traditional knowledge, practices and values. Such projects and policies can be devastating to small, Indigenous communities struggling to maintain their culture and economic independence in a changing world. While many examples of external impacts on small-scale resource use could be drawn upon for these communities, we illustrate this situation by examining the impact of fisheries management regimes on Indigenous coastal communities in British Columbia, Canada and Aotearoa New Zealand. We characterize the problem and identify key stressors involved. Within the context of Indigenous rights and Indigenous peoples' knowledge, perspectives and experience, we highlight the need to recognize this type of constraint on Indigenous Peoples' resource use and effective participation in resource management.


Indigenous fishing rights Indigenous values Colonization Indigenous stewardship Sustainable resource management 



We are grateful to the many Indigenous environmental and cultural experts whose experiences and wisdom have informed our paper. We also acknowledge the Tula Foundation and Marsden Funds in BC and ANZ respectively for supporting our research.


  1. Anderson, E. N. (1996). Ecologies of the heart, emotion, belief and the environment. Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  2. Anon (1990). Pacheenaht Hereditary Chief at age 113. Times-Colonist, Feb 10, 1990, citing interview in The Ottawa Citizen, Sept. 5, 1987, F2.Google Scholar
  3. ANZ (Aotearoa New Zealand) Government. (1991). Resource Management Act.Google Scholar
  4. Atleo, E. R., and Chief Umeek (2011). Principles of Tsawalk. An indigenous approach to global crisis. UBC Press, Vancouver, BC.Google Scholar
  5. Ban, N. C., Picard, C., and Vincent, A. C. J. (2008). Moving toward spatial solutions in marine conservation with indigenous communities. Ecology and Society 13(3): 32 [online] URL: [accessedFebruary23,2013].
  6. Berkes, F. (2012a). Sacred ecology, 3rd ed. Routledge, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Berkes, F. (2012b). Implementing ecosystem-based management: evolution or revolution? Fish and Fisheries 13: 465–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Berkes, F., Colding, J., and Folke, C. (2000). Rediscovery of traditional ecological knowledge as adaptive management. Ecological Applications 10: 1251–1262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bess, R. (2012). Public management in New Zealand and its effect on institutional arrangements for managing fisheries. Marine Policy 36: 550–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Booth, A. L., and Skelton, N. W. (2011). “You spoil everything!” indigenous peoples and the consequences of industrial development in British Columbia. Environment, Development and Sustainability 13(4): 685–702.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brown, F., and Brown, K. (2009). Staying the course, staying alive. Coastal first nations fundamental truths. Biodiversity BC, Victoria.Google Scholar
  12. Campbell, S. K., and Butler, V. L. (2010). Archaeological evidence for resilience of pacific northwest salmon, the last ~7,500 years. Ecology and Society 15(1): 17 [online] URL: [accessedFebruary23,2013].
  13. Carpenter, J., Humchitt, C. and Eldridge, M. (2000). Heiltsuk Traditional Fish Trap Study. Final Report, Fisheries Renewal BC Research Reward, Science Council of BC Reference Number FS99-32, Bella Bella: Heiltsuk Cultural Education Centre, July 2000. [Unpublished manuscript on file at the HCEC, Box 880, Waglisla, BC V0T 1Z0, 250-957-2626.]Google Scholar
  14. Carrothers, W. A. (1941). Herring, Pichard, Cod, Sturgeon and Dogfish. Chapter 9 in The British Columbia Fisheries. University of Toronto Press, Ontario.Google Scholar
  15. CFNTPI (Coastal First Nations Turning Point Initiative). (2009). Into the Deep Blue. Marine Ecosystem-based management. CFNTPI, Vancouver, BC. (With North Coast – Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society, Prince Rupert, BC.) URL: [accessed January 22, 2012].
  16. Clayoquot Scientific Panel. (1995). First Nations’ Perspectives Relating to Forest Practices in Clayoquot Sound. Report 3, Cortex Consulting, Victoria, BC.Google Scholar
  17. Claxton Sr., E., and Elliott Sr., J. (1994). Reef Net technology of the saltwater people. Saanich Indian School Board, Brentwood Bay, BC.Google Scholar
  18. Coates, N. (2009). Joint-management agreements in New Zealand: simply empty promises? Journal of South Pacific Law 13(1): 32–39.Google Scholar
  19. Cohen, B. I. (2010) Fraser River Sockeye Salmon: Past Declines. Future Sustainability? Interim Report. Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River, Government of Canada, Vancouver, BC.Google Scholar
  20. Costello, C., Gaines, S. D., and Lynham, J. (2008). Can catch shares prevent fisheries collapse? Science 321: 1678–1681.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Coté, I. M., Dodson, J. J., Fleming, I. A., Hutchings, J. A., Jennings, S., Mantua, N. J., Peterman, R. M., Riddell, B. E., Weaver, A. J., and VanderZwaag, D. L. (2012). Sustaining Canada’s Marine Biodiversity: Responding to the Challenges Posed by Climate Change, Fisheries, and Aquaculture. February 2012. Report of The Royal Society of Canada (RSC), The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada, Ottawa, ONGoogle Scholar
  22. Coward, H., Ommer, R. and Pitcher, T. (2000). Just Fish. Social and Economic Papers, No. 23, St. John’s, NF: Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. Johns, Nfld.Google Scholar
  23. Davis, W. (2011). The sacred headwaters. The fight to save the Stikine, Skeena, and Nass. Greystone Books, Vancouver, BC.Google Scholar
  24. Dick, J., Turner, R., Stephenson, J., Kirikiri, R., and Moller, H. (2012). Mana Moana, Mana Tangata: testimonies on depletion and restoration of mahinga kai. Tirohia he huarahi research report #1. Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ.Google Scholar
  25. Durie, M. (1998). Te Mana, Te Kāwanatanga: the politics of Māori self-determination. Oxford University Press, NZ.Google Scholar
  26. Ecotrust Canada. (2009). A cautionary tale about ITQ fisheries. [Posted on July 30th, 2009] [accessed January 23, 2012]
  27. FOC. (2011a). Aquatic Species at Risk - Northern Abalone. URL: (modified 2011-08-25; Accessed February 7, 2012).
  28. FOC. (2011b). Stock Assessment Report on Pacific Herring in 2011. FOC Pacific Region. Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, Science Advisory Report 2011/061.Google Scholar
  29. Guujaaw (President of the Council of Haida Nation). (2001). Interview with Mark Harvey (together with Greg Thomas, FOC) about the Herring Fishery. Vancouver, BC: CBC Radio - Daybreak North, 8:43 a.m. Thursday, January 18, 2001.Google Scholar
  30. Haggan, N., Ainsworth C., Pitcher, T., Sumaila, U. R. and Heymans, J. (2007). Life in the Fast Food Chain: Où Sont Les Poissons d’Antan? Chapter 4, pp. 51–74 in: Resetting the Kitchen Table: Food Security, Culture… Edited by C.C. Parrish, N. J. Turner and S. M. Solberg, Nova Science Publishers, NY.Google Scholar
  31. Harding, R. (1991). New Zealand fisheries management: a study in bureaucratisation. Unpublished PhD thesis. Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington.Google Scholar
  32. Harmsworth, G., Barclay-Kerr, K., and Reedy, T. (2002). Māori sustainable development in the 21st century: the importance of Māori values, strategic planning and information systems. He Puna Kōrero: Journal of Māori & Pacific Development 3: 40–68.Google Scholar
  33. Harris, D. C. (2002). Fish, Law, and Colonialism: the legal capture of Salmon in British Columbia. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON.Google Scholar
  34. Harris, R. C. (1997). The resettlement of British Columbia. Essays on colonialism and geographical change. UBC Press, Vancouver.Google Scholar
  35. Hebda, R., and Frederick, S. G. (1990). History of marine resources of the northeast pacific since the last glaciation. Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, Sixth Series I: 319–342.Google Scholar
  36. Hepburn, C. D., Flack, B., Richards, D. K., and Wing, S. R. (2008). Providing local ecological information for the management of pāua fisheries within taiāpure and mātaitai. Proceedings of Ngā Kete a Rēhua. Christchurch, 4th & 5th September 2008. pp 200–225Google Scholar
  37. Hepburn, C. D., Kainamu, A., Vanderburg, P., Jackson, A—M., and Flack, B. (2010). Ki Uta Ki Tai: From the Mountains to the Sea. Holistic Approaches to Customary Fisheries Management. Proceedings of the 4th International Traditional Knowledge Conference. Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga, New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence, Auckland [online]. Available at [accessed February 23, 2013]
  38. Kawharu, M. (ed.) (2002). Whenua. Managing our resources. Reed Publishing, NZ.Google Scholar
  39. Kelsey, J. (2002). Old Wine in New Bottles. Globalisation, colonization, resource management and Maori. Pp. 373–396 in Whenua. Managing our Resources, edited by Merata. Reed Publishing, NZ.Google Scholar
  40. Krkošek, M., Bateman, A., Proboszcz, S., and Orr, C. (2010). Dynamics of outbreak and control of salmon lice on two salmon farms in the Broughton archipelago, British Columbia. Aquaculture Environment Interactions 1: 137–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kuhnlein, H. V., Yeboah, F., Sedgemore, M., Sedgemore, S., and Chan, H. M. (1996). Nutritional qualities of ooligan grease: a traditional food fat of British Columbia first nations. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 9: 18–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lindsay, B. (2010). December 2, 2010. First Nations fish-farming suit against gov't okayed. CTV News. URL: [accessed January 25, 2012]
  43. Lutz, J. (2008). Makuk: a New history of aboriginal-white relations. UBC Press, Vancouver.Google Scholar
  44. Marine Harvest Canada. (2012). Aboriginal Peoples and Marine Harvest Canada Working together. URL: [accessed January 25, 2012].
  45. McCormack, F. (2010) Fish is my Daily Bread: Owning and Transacting in Maori Fisheries. Anthropological Forum, 20: (1)19–39.Google Scholar
  46. Memon, P. A., and Kirk, N. A. (2011a). Maori commercial fisheries governance in ANZ within the bounds of a neoliberal fisheries management regime. Asia Pacific Viewpoint 52(1): 106–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Memon, P. A., and Kirk, N. A. (2011b). Institutional reforms in New Zealand fisheries as an ecological modernization project. Society and Natural Resources 24: 995–1010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Ministry of Fisheries Science Group (2009). Report from the fisheries assessment plenary, May 2009: stock assessments and yield estimates. Ministry of Fisheries, Wellington, NZ.Google Scholar
  49. Moody, M. (2008). Eulachon past and present. Graduate thesis, resource management & environmental studies. University of British Columbia, Vancouver.Google Scholar
  50. Morton, A., and Routledge, R. D. (2005). Mortality rates for Juvenile Pink Oncorhynchus gorbushca and Chum O. Keta salmon infested with Sea Lice Lepeophtheirus salmonis in the Broughton Archipelago. Alaska Fisheries Research Bulletin 11(2): 146–152.Google Scholar
  51. Mutu, M. (2010). Ngāti Kahu kaitiakitanga. Pp. 13–35 in Māori and the Environment: Kaitiaki, edited by R. Selby, P. Moore and M. Mulholland. Huia Publishers, Wellington, NZ.Google Scholar
  52. Naylor, R. L., Eagle, J., and Smith, W. L. (2003). Salmon aquaculture in the Pacific Northwest: a global industry with local impacts. Environment 45: 18–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Ommer, R., and and the Coasts Under Stress Research Team (2007). Coasts under stress. Restructuring and social-ecological health. McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal, QC and Kingston, ON.Google Scholar
  54. Ommer, R., Holcapek, C. L., Hood, R. J. and the Coasts Under Stress Research Project Team. (2006). Voices on the Edge. University of Victoria, Victoria, BC and Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s.Google Scholar
  55. Pearse, P. H. (1982). “Turning the tide”: A New policy for Canada’s fisheries. The commission on pacific fisheries policy. Final Report, Vancouver, BC.Google Scholar
  56. Pinkerton, E., and Weinstein, M. (1995). Fisheries that work: sustainability through community-based management. The David Suzuki Foundation, Vancouver, BC.Google Scholar
  57. Reading, C. L. and Wien, F. (2009). Health Inequalities and Social Determinants of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health. NCCAH. URL:…/NCCAH-loppie-Wien_report.pdf [accessed September 24, 2012].
  58. Ruru, J. (2012). Settling indigenous place: reconciling legal fictions in governing Canada and aotearoa New Zealand’s national park. PhD dissertation, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC.Google Scholar
  59. Ruru, J., Stephenson, J., and Abbott, M. (eds.) (2011). Making Our place: exploring land-Use tensions in aotearoa New Zealand. Otago University Press, Dunedin, NZ.Google Scholar
  60. Salmond, A. (1997). Between worlds: early exchanges between Maori and Europeans 1773–1815. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.Google Scholar
  61. Selby, R. and Moore, P. (2010). Nōku te whenua o ōku tūpuna: Ngāti Pareraukawa kaitiakitanga. Pp. 37–57 in Māori and the Environment: Kaitiaki, edited by R. Selby, P. Moore and M. Mulholland. Huia Publishers, Wellington, NZ.Google Scholar
  62. Smith, I. (2011). Pre-European Maori exploitation of marine resources in two New Zealand case study areas: species range and temporal change. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand doi: 10.1080/03036758.2011.574709.Google Scholar
  63. Stephenson, J., and Moller, H. (2009). Cross-cultural environmental research and management – challenges and progress. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 39(4): 139–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Stoner, S. (2012). JRP Hearings in Hartley Bay, a blog. Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposal. March 5, 2012 (URL: [Accessed March 6, 2012].
  65. Sumaila, U. R., and Walters, C. J. (2005). Intergenerational discounting: a new intuitive approach. Ecological Economics 52: 135–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Taiepa, T., Lyver, P., Horsley, P., Davis, J., Bragg, M., and Moller, H. (1997). Co-management of New Zealand's conservation estate by Maori and Pakeha: a review. Environmental Conservation 24: 236–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Te Aho, L. (2011) Waikato: River of Life. Pp.145-157 in: Making Our Place: Exploring Land-Use Tensions in Aotearoa New Zealand. Otago University Press, Dunedin, NZ.Google Scholar
  68. Therriault, T. W., Hay, D. E., and Schweigert, J. F. (2009). Biologic overview and trends in pelagic forage fish abundance in the Salish Sea (strait of Georgia, BC). Marine Ornithology 37: 3–8.Google Scholar
  69. Turner, N. J. (2004). Plants of Haida Gwaii. Sono Nis Press, Winlaw, BC.Google Scholar
  70. Turner, N. J., and Berkes, F. (2006). Coming to understanding: developing conservation through incremental learning. Human Ecology, special issue, Developing Resource Management and Conservation 34(4): 495–513.Google Scholar
  71. Turner, N. J., Gregory, R., Brooks, C., Failing, L., and Satterfield, T. (2008). From invisibility to transparency: identifying the implications (of invisible losses to first nations communities). Ecology and Society 13(2): 7. URL: [accessedFebruary23,2013].
  72. UN Convention on Biological Diversity. (1992). Convention on Biological Diversity. [URL:]
  73. United Nations. (2007). Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Adopted by the UN General Assembly, 13 September 2007.Google Scholar
  74. Volpe, J. P., Anholt, B. R., and Glickman, B. W. (2001). Competition among juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss): relevance to invasion potential in BC. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science 58: 197–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Ward, A. (1997). National overview. Volume 1, Waitangi Tribunal Rangahaua Whanui series. Waitangi Tribunal, GP Publications, Wellington, NZ.Google Scholar
  76. Whyte, A. L. H., Bell, J. J., Ramstad, K. M., and Gardner, J. P. A. (2008). An indigenous-led community challenge to fisheries management in New Zealand: the revival of regional scale management practices? Pacific Conservation Biology 14(4): 248–249.Google Scholar
  77. World Wildlife Fund New Zealand (2012). Beyond Rio – New Zealand’s environmental record since the original earth summit. WWF, Wellington.Google Scholar
  78. Worm, B., Hilborn, R., Baum, J. K., and and 18 other authors (2009). Rebuilding global fisheries. Science 325: 578–585.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy J. Turner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fikret Berkes
    • 2
  • Janet Stephenson
    • 3
  • Jonathan Dick
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Environmental Studies, University of VictoriaVictoriaCanada
  2. 2.Natural Resources Institute, University of ManitobaWinnepegCanada
  3. 3.Center for Sustainability, Agriculture, Food, Energy and Environment, University of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations