Human Ecology

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 167–183

Improving the American Eel Fishery Through the Incorporation of Indigenous Knowledge into Policy Level Decision Making in Canada

  • Amber Giles
  • Lucia Fanning
  • Shelley Denny
  • Tyson Paul

DOI: 10.1007/s10745-016-9814-0

Cite this article as:
Giles, A., Fanning, L., Denny, S. et al. Hum Ecol (2016) 44: 167. doi:10.1007/s10745-016-9814-0


Effective management of ecosystems, natural resources, and harvesting practices is essential for ecosystem health and the sustainable use of marine resources. Although the value, importance, and benefits of the incorporation of indigenous knowledge, particularly of traditional ecological knowledge into western science-policy decision-making have been well recognized over the past few decades, suitable mechanisms for collecting and incorporating indigenous knowledge into policy level decision making are not yet well understood. This study examines the Canadian government’s assessment process for the American eel, Anguilla rostrata, as well as the community level management process for the eel fishery in Eskasoni First Nation, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. This case study allows for an exploration of the challenges arising from differing worldviews and possible mechanisms for meaningful integration of indigenous values into governmental policy level decision-making.


Indigenous knowledge Knowledge systems American eel fishery Eskasoni First Nation Canada 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  • 895-2011-1007

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marine Affairs ProgramDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Unama’ki Institute of Natural ResourcesCape BretonCanada

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