Pan-Arctic fisheries are highly diverse in their purpose, species biology, productivity, economic and strategic importance as well as in how they are prosecuted. They range from full industrial fisheries to community-based artisanal, sport and subsistence fisheries. The nature of Arctic ecosystems in the region varies from extremely productive to relatively barren in terms of fisheries production. Gear types vary, but offshore trawl fisheries and inshore and freshwater gillnet fisheries are the most common. Rights-based fisheries (e.g., for indigenous inhabitants) are more prominent in the Canadian and American Arctic than in European jurisdictions. The principal harvested species in freshwater environments tend to be from few taxa mainly Salvelinus spp. and from the family Coregonidae, while the marine taxa are more diverse. Compared to north temperate fisheries, Arctic fisheries have impressive variation across longitudes; some jurisdictions support only small-scale subsistence fisheries, whereas others contain some of the largest yields among industrial fisheries. Approaches to scientific assessment are also highly diverse with a range from catch-based indicators to sophisticated fully age-structured population models.
Part of the book: Fisheries and Aquaculture in the Modern World
Migration occurs when key aspects of the life cycle such as growth, reproduction, or maintenance cannot all be completed in one location. The Arctic habitats are variable and Arctic species are often migratory. The predictable nature of migrations in both space and time allow Arctic people to harvest fishes and marine mammals. We describe migratory/dispersal behavior in four types of taxa from the Canadian Arctic: anadromous and freshwater fishes, marine fishes, marine invertebrates, and marine mammals. Patterns of migration are remarkably different between these groups, in particular between distances migrated, seasonal timing of migrations, and the degree of reproductive isolation. Migratory anadromous and freshwater fishes become adapted to specific locations resulting in complex life histories and intra- and inter-population variation. Marine mammals not only migrate longer distances but also appear to have distinct demographic populations over large scales. Marine fishes tend to be panmictic, probably due to the absence of barriers that would restrict gene flow. Migratory patterns also reflect feeding or rearing areas and/or winter refugia. Migratory patterns of harvested aquatic organisms in the Canadian north are extremely variable and have shaped the north in terms of harvest, communities, and culture.
Part of the book: Biological Research in Aquatic Science