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An Inuit community on a remote island chain in the southeastern corner of Hudson Bay is once again looking to the sea to provide for the community, as it has for centuries.

Nestled among the two-billion-year-old folds of sedimentary rock, basalt and iron known as the Belcher Islands, Sanikiluaq is a partner in WWF-Canada’s community-based fisheries program.

WWF-Canada has been working with Nunavut communities towards building a sustainable “blue economy” — which is an ocean-based economy incorporating not only financial prosperity but also positive impacts for communities and ecosystems — through development of small-scale commercial fisheries.

As with many Inuit communities, Sanikiluaq residents harvest much of their food from the sea, including seal, walrus, beluga and Arctic char. Sanikiluarmiut also look deeper when it comes to seafood, and it isn’t uncommon for mussels, scallops, sea stars, sea urchins or sea cucumbers to be on the dinner table or over the cooking fire.

Working with communities like Sanikiluaq to develop sustainable economic activities like small-scale fisheries is especially important because there are few other economic options. There are some carvers, weavers and people who make winter clothing stuffed with eiderdown. There are also existing mining leases for iron on the Islands, but the community has strongly opposed development of a mine.

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