Traditional and Local Knowledge Working Group

Goal: To promote the value, credibility and use of Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Local Knowledge (LK) to current and future generations.

Traditional Knowledge is defined as a shared, collective body of knowledge incorporating environmental, cultural and social elements. Therefore, TK is a combination of traditional environmental knowledge, traditional land use and traditional practices. It is a continuous body of knowledge passed on from generation to generation and continues to grow and evolve over time. The fact that TK is continuous and evolving over time and ensures that current knowledge is incorporated into the existing body of TK. Local Knowledge (LK) is current knowledge held by people within a community. It can be gained by any individual who has spent considerable time on the land or water observing nature and natural processes. Both types of knowledge are useful and can provide advice and direction when making management decisions, especially when scientific information is lacking.

Traditional Knowledge has already been used to help identify Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas in the Beaufort Sea Large Ocean Management Area (LOMA) and will continue to be used in making similar planning decisions. Traditional Knowledge may also contribute to the development of guidelines, plans and other decisions within the LOMA.

Traditional Knowledge in the Beaufort Sea ecosystem is strongest for coastal areas and for species harvested or captured by the Inuvialuit. In areas further offshore TK may be limited or not available at all. Although TK may be limited in offshore areas, there are many species which utilize both coastal and offshore areas and TK can still complement or expand the understanding obtained from science-based studies on these animals. Traditional Knowledge also provides important insights into physical processes such as: ocean currents; upwellings; ice formation, structure and break-up; flaw leads; and meteorological events such as storm frequency or timing. Due to the value of TK in the understanding of the Beaufort Sea ecosystem it is important that it continues to be used in management decision making, ocean space planning and the planning and implementation of scientific studies and monitoring activities.

The following table summarizes the TK objectives set out in the Integrated Ocean Management Plan (IOMP) for the Beaufort Sea. These include the integration of TK into all decision making, where possible, in the Beaufort Sea LOMA, and using this knowledge to complement science based research and monitoring programs.


Use TK and LK in resource management, monitoring and identification of sensitive species and areas·  Use community-based management, monitoring and indicator identification in the LOMA and for MPAs
·  Incorporate TK and LK into Ocean Use Plans
·  Use TK and LK in environmental assessments
Establish a set of guidelines for the collection, validation and use of TK and LK·  Develop a strategy and framework for collecting, recording and applying TK
Promote the respect, value and sharing of TK and LK·  Work with schools and elders to identify opportunities to teach young people
·   Recognize holders of TK and LK