Developing a Bio-Cultural Framework for Fish Habitat & Water Assessments

The Bio-Cultural Framework project aims to align Indigenous knowledge and Western scientific knowledge in the management of fish and freshwater resources. This is achieved by using bio-cultural indicators to develop a community-based water monitoring framework that integrates First Nations values to collect baseline data for the assessment of water quality, quantity and habitat health.  Once established, the framework will help express First Nations values, monitor change (spatially and temporally), respond to issues, inform planning and policy, and facilitate the long-term management of fish and freshwater resources. This project is largely inspired by the work done in Aotearoa or New Zealand by the Māori and New Zealand Government to develop a Cultural Health Index.

Phase 1 of the project was completed in March 2021 and focused on collaboratively developing a scoping document that identifies FNFLF priorities, pilot watersheds and methods for fish habitat and water assessment. Phases 2 & 3 are currently underway and will be completed in March 2023. Phase 2 & 3 of this project are being done in partnership with the Centre for Indigenous Fisheries at the University of British Columbia and focus on the co-development of the bio-cultural framework. 

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Photo of Centre for Indigenous Fisheries graduate students, Kate Mussett and Kasey Stirling, completing field work at a site on the Allouette River. Photo credit – Dr. Andrea Reid