Our first visit to Igloolik was in April, 2012. We held an open house that presented N-CAMP to the community and offered them a forum to contribute views and suggestions concerning how the program should be put together, who should participate, and how it could best respond to community concerns. We returned in March the next year and had further discussions with community stakeholders. We spoke with teachers and students from the local Ataguttaaluk High School, members of the local HTO, members of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, hamlet council staff, and other individuals. Support for the program was consistent, and we were able to discuss numerous partnerships to help get the program up and running. With the support of the community, N-CAMP plans to deliver the fisheries sampling module in March 2014. The training will be done at a new exploratory lake on Melville Peninsula.

As with the other pilot project communities, residents of Igloolik voiced clear concerns over increased mining operations in their region, and the potential impact on water quality and fish health that these mines might have. For these reasons, they have offered clear support for the establishment of an effective and reliable monitoring program that would incorporate local input from community members, including local elders. The community has also demonstrated a wish to develop commercial fisheries, harvesting char and other species in the region. The N-CAMP program can offer support for both of these goals – economic development and fish and water conservation.

How does N-CAMP address community concerns regarding fish and water quality?

Fish and other marine life provide the main source of food for residents of Igloolik. This includes char, but also walrus and whales. The importance of fishing to local culture means that Igloolik residents are concerned about the continued health of the fish population as well as the marine environment that sustains them. As the region opens up to more mining exploration at locations such as Mary River, as well as on nearby Baffin Island, residents have spoken of the need to take steps to ensure that fish and migratory marine mammals are protected. The local Hunters and Trappers Organisation has been an active participant in these discussions, and it has, for instance, adopted measures to preserve the walrus population.