Understanding climate change impacts on fish species in Ungava Bay (Kuujjuaq, Quebec)
The project examines the importance of within and among species effects of changing climates on how fish grow, use and compete for critical habitats and the possible differential impact of changing northern ecosystems on co-existing fish species, particularly Arctic charr. The project will further extend the existing database for an Ungava population of Arctic charr, thereby making one of the few long-term data sets available for Arctic charr and one of the most unique given its location. A key outcome of the work will be an improved understanding of what critical thermal habitats are important for supporting populations of Arctic charr in Ungava, determining the tendency of Arctic charr to migrate and stray and an understanding of how changes in the marine ecosystem might better suit other fish species that could compete with Arctic charr, thereby adversely affecting the security of supply of Arctic charr to northern communities. The work will entail establishing close working connections with local Inuit communities and a collaboration with government so as to ensure maximal knowledge transfer from the research. Results of the work will test predictions about how climate-change may reduce anadromy or disadvantage Arctic charr competitively, with both outcomes likely to reduce the availability of sea-run Arctic charr as an available food source. In all cases the results of the research will provide better information about how key fish species may be affected by climate-change and, therefore, the research will provide information necessary to the design of sustainable adaptive management of fisheries resources.