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Towards Biocultural Conservation: Local and Indigenous Knowledge, Cultural Values and Governance of the White Sturgeon (Canada)

Carrie Oloriz () and Brenda Parlee ()
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Carrie Oloriz: School of Environment and Sustainability, Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC V9B 5Y2, Canada
Brenda Parlee: Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2R3, Canada

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 18, 1-16

Abstract: This paper examines the extent to which Indigenous knowledge and values have informed conservation of the Lower Fraser River population of white sturgeon ( Acipenser transmontanus ) in Canada. A review of grey literature and semi-structured interviews carried out with indigenous Stó:lō fishers and fisheries managers in the Lower Fraser Basin in 2016–2018 evidences the depth of knowledge held by Stó:lō fishers about this species and its importance to local communities. A summary of Stó:lō oral histories about the sturgeon and observations and experiences of settlement and development in the Fraser region, provides context for understanding why and how the white sturgeon came to be listed as a species at risk. However, the impacts were not only ecological; Stó:lō people were also significantly impacted by European settlement and development of the Fraser Basin over the last one hundred years. The assessment of the white sturgeon, under the Canadian Species at Risk Act in 2012 was a missed opportunity to decolonize current management approaches. The paper concludes by suggesting that a biocultural diversity conservation approach, that reflects both ecological and socio-cultural values, and is informed by scientific and Indigenous knowledge systems, is a more sustainable approach to the management of the white sturgeon and other species at risk.

Keywords: conservation; Indigenous knowledge; species at risk; cultural values; white sturgeon (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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