Skip to main content

Ecology, Culture and Economic Potential: Characterizing Pessamit Nitassinan Coastal and Marine Environments

A joint project with the Innu First Nation of Pessamit

We’re fortunate to be working with the Innu First Nation of Pessamit to characterize the coastal and marine environments of the Pessamit Nitassinan, where nature, culture and economic activity exist in harmony. The aim of this project is to acquire knowledge that will serve to protect the community’s land and rights and promote the value of the marine Nitassinan.

In the summer of 2022, we surveyed the marine Nitassinan with community members and elders to map and document their knowledge. We also characterized and inventoried several salt marshes. In the summer of 2023, the fieldwork conducted provided the community with data on the species in the Nitassinan, including lobster and winter flounder, in order to assess the potential for a food, social and ceremonial fishery in the area.

"Having a clear portrait of the marine Nitassinan is key to deepening our understanding of the area and preserving our land and rights. Plus, it's something we've never done before."

Anne Rock

"We're really doing something special here."

Majoric Pinette

Knowledge transmission key to connecting with marine lands

As the first-ever environmental characterization of the Pessamit Nitassinan, this project provides a unique opportunity for community members to receive the knowledge of their elders—guardians of age-old traditions—to better connect with their marine lands. In sharing their knowledge and deep understanding of natural cycles, the elders play a key role in the project.

The project to characterize the ecosystems, culture and economic potential of Pessamit’s marine Nitassinan is funded through Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Oceans Management Contribution Program. The funding is reserved for First Nations communities in the estuary and northern gulf of the St. Lawrence River for the years 2021 to 2026. The program aims to increase First Nations participation in the governance and conservation of marine areas.