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Centre for Indigenous Fisheries launches at UBC

This new centre aims to combine Indigenous knowledge with current science.
A Nisga'a scholar will lead the Centre for Indigenous Fisheries at UBC.

A new centre at UBC aims to combine Indigenous knowledge with current science.

The Centre for Indigenous Fisheries will be lead by Dr. Andrea Reid, a Nisga’a Nation member and fisheries scientist, according to a press release from the university, and operate under the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries. The centre will help build a better understanding of fishery management using the two perspectives offered through modern science and Indigenous knowledge.

"We are working towards a future where culturally significant fish and fisheries are valued and protected in the long-term. Our research is fundamentally community-centred, employing both Indigenous research methodologies as well as tools and understandings from both Indigenous and Western sciences," says Reid in the release.

Scientists are referring more to Indigenous knowledge in recent years to help fill in data in evidence-based research.

Reid has worked internationally, visiting Indigenous fisheries.

"We hope to become a hub nationally and, eventually, internationally, for Indigenous fisheries work, learning, and knowledge sharing with our growing network of Indigenous organizations, fishers and managers, colleagues, governments, and communities across BC and beyond," states the centre's website.

Among the projects she hopes the centre will be able to take is one called 'Fish Outlaws,' which will focus on the legal issues for Indigenous fishers in the Salish Sea area. The National Geographic Society is helping fund the project; Reid herself is a National Geographic explorer and the project will include three others.

Still in its early days, the centre's interim director is Dr. Dianne Newell and they plan to bring on a second faculty member soon.