In a finding that sheds light on the dependence of Indigenous people on global resources, researchers in Canada have discovered that coastal Indigenous people eat on average 15 times more seafood per person than non-Indigenous people in the same country.
Researchers say that their findings will help authorities to lay out fisheries policy and Indigenous human rights policies while considering the need for food sovereignty and cultural identity of the Indigenous people. The team behind the study published in PLOS ONE also point out that these findings will help us in quantifying the types of resources that non-recognised Indigenous people depend on.
Researchers also point out that not only will these findings help us determine the types of resources that Indigenous people depend on, they will also help us understand the struggle of Indigenous people on a number of fronts including food security and sovereignty.
Scientists point out that ocean is one of the most important sources of food and economic security for these communities. Further it is the ocean that has been shaping their cultural heritage and spiritual values for millennia. This new research highlights the reliance of indigenous communities on marine resources and the increasing vulnerability of these people due to climate and ecosystem changes.
Fishing, for these communities, is not just about catching their food, but it also defines their identity. Researchers point out that fishing helps them maintain an identity as a distinct culture. This highlights the need for protection of fisheries and related ecosystems and this in turn will help us protect lives and cultures of the Indigenous people.
For their study authors worked with local researchers and collected data to build a database of more than 1,900 communities who altogether consume 2.1 million metric tonnes of seafood per year. Researchers studied communities that include recognized Indigenous groups, self-identified minority groups, and small island developing states with all of these groups sharing similar histories of marginalization and deep social and cultural connections to marine environments.
The findings also highlight that coastal Indigenous people consume an estimated 74 kilograms of seafood per capita, compared to the global average of 19 kilograms.