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Nuliajuk – is a state of the art, multi-purpose research vessel that will support science-based conservation and sustainable development of Nunavut fisheries.  Central to the mandate of the vessel is to support community participation in fisheries, support poverty reduction and provide valuable training opportunities to Inuit.

What is the benefit to Nunavut?

The Government’s new research vessel will provide significant short and long term benefits for Nunavut.  In northern regions there has been a major deficit in both inshore and offshore fisheries research.  Nunavut will gain knowledge of existing and potential fishery resources, biological and environmental factors influencing the health and productivity of our fisheries.  This information is essential to ensure the efficiency and sustainability of our industry.  Communities adjacent to research activities will benefit from the data collected and they will be able to provide input as well, bringing science and traditional knowledge together. The vessel and research activities will provide training and employment opportunities in fisheries and research vessel operations.  At the forefront is the assurance that we will have increased our capacity for undertaking and guiding our own research, for sustainable economic development and for food security.

Who are the researchers?

Research on board the vessel is funded and undertaken collaboratively with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, the University of Windsor, University of Victoria, Memorial University, University of New Brunswick, Dalhousie University, ArcticNet, the Sir Alistair Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science, the community of Pangnirtung and our Department. Our staff will be supporting this work and also carrying out a variety of fisheries research in partnership with these groups. Working collaboratively is essential to ensure the maximum benefits to Nunavut

Who are the crew? 

The Crewing of the vessel was done via a public tendering process.  RCG Marine Consulting from Newfoundland and Labrador won the bid to provide the crew.  The crew is full-time and includes a Captain, First Mate and two deck hands.  All crew meet or exceed the experience and training qualifications required by Transport Canada.  We are pleased to have an Inuit deckhand and an Inuit deckhand trainee on board the vessel for the 2012 working season.

What kind of training does the GN have in place to staff the vessel?

The Department of Environment is working with the crewing company to incorporate space for Inuit employees and trainees in partnership with the Nunavut Fisheries Training Consortium.  We are happy to have two beneficiaries on board this year.

What are the activities for the 2012 season?

In 2012 the Nuliajuk will undertake a number of activities, many of which are multi-year projects:

·         Survey work on Cumberland Sound turbot stocks:  The data on fish movements will be used to reassess the location of the boundary of the Cumberland Sound Turbot Management Area (CSTMA), potentially increasing access to those stocks by the community of Pangnirtung.

·         Studying methods for reducing Greenland shark by-catch while turbot fishing.

·         Exploratory fishing near Qikiqtarjuaq and Clyde River, including sampling for clams and assessing their abundance and nutritional value.

·         Plankton sampling and jellyfish genetic analysis as part of an on-going effort to catalog species that are present in Nunavut waters.

·         Shallow water bottom mapping and classification to better understand fish habitat and the delineation of fish stocks.  Data gathered will improve our knowledge of transportation routes and marine ecosystems, and mapping areas of interest near territorial parks.  The Department has partnered with the Canadian Hydrographic Service, Memorial University in Newfoundland, and the University of New Brunswick’s Ocean Mapping Group to install a bottom mapping system on the vessel and to provide post-processing of the data to our Department.

·         Collection of salinity, temperature and depth data.  This data is critical to our understanding of ocean chemistry and any changes that may be occurring as a result of changes in climate.

·         Second year Environmental Technology students from  Arctic College will come aboard in Frobisher Bay again for an afternoon of plankton sampling and for a tour of the vessel and the research equipment onboard.

·         A graduate from courses offered by the Nunavut Fisheries Training Consortium will be onboard this year as a trainee.  It is hoped that she will be successful and become part of the full-time crew in 2013.