2005 Maxwell Studentship Recipient - Martha Stiegman
This summer, Halifax native Martha Stiegman is revisiting her
Maritime roots to explore the symbiotic link that exists between
healthy fish stocks and healthy communities.
Photo: Scott Leslie
Winner of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society's annual $5,000 Maxwell
Studentship in Human Geography, Stiegman, a master's student
at Concordia University in Montréal, is looking at how
managing resources at the local level is strengthening ties between
aboriginal and nonaboriginal fishing villages in southwestern
Unlike conventional fisheries management, which Stiegman describes
as increasingly privatized and corporate, a community-based approach
transfers control to local stakeholders and incorporates indigenous
Violent clashes between First Nations and nonnative fishermen
in places like Burnt Church, N.B., made national headlines after
the 1999 Marshall decision recognized native treaty rights and
led to off-season fishing. But what was not widely reported, says
Stiegman, was the peaceful way some small fishing communities in
southwest Nova Scotia developed local management plans everyone
could agree upon.
Besides stock stewardship, however, the strong social component
of community-based resource management fosters dialogue between
aboriginal and non-aboriginal groups. Stiegman is interviewing
fishermen, community leaders and other stakeholders this summer
for a documentary that looks at the co-operation which developed
among these seemingly disparate groups once they realized they
wanted the same thing.
"They are trying to preserve the resource that their culture
and way of life is based upon," she says.
"I think the stand they're taking is very principled and
— Katie Wallace