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Indigenous voices reveal key strategies for navigating the challenging return of sea otters


A new study highlighting the long-term relationships between Indigenous peoples and ocean resources reveals how coastal communities can improve their ability to coexist with recovering sea otter populations. The recovery of this notorious shellfish predator is triggering major changes in nearshore marine ecosystems impacting food security for many First Nations.

Researchers from SFU initiated the “Coastal Voices” collaboration, a partnership with Indigenous leaders and knowledge holders representing 19 First Nations and Tribes from Alaska to British Columbia. Recognising that Indigenous perspectives were largely absent from dialogues about sea otter recovery and management, this collaboration sought to change this.

“Our people actively managed a balanced relationship with sea otters for millennia,” says co-author, and Haida matriarch Kii’iljuus (Barbara Wilson). “Our work with Coastal Voices and this study helps show how those rights and knowledge need to be recognised and part of contemporary sea otter management.” MORE

Header image: Erin Rechsteiner.

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