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ArcticNet recommends practical solutions to improve standard of living in Canada's north

February 17, 2013 - Boston, MA Northern communities are in the midst of a period of intense and rapid change brought on by modernization, industrialization and the realities of climate change. From preserving the means to hunt caribou to protecting stocks of arctic char - balancing development with a respect and preservation of traditional means of sustainability may be key to improving standards of living in the North.

With the help of the icebreaker Amundsen, Louis Fortier, Canada Research Chair on the Response of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change and other members of the ArcticNet team conduct complex assessments of different Arctic regions, including Nunavik in northern Quebec and Nunatsiavut in Labrador.

Their findings about the effects of modernization, industrialization and climate change, form the basis of a series of recommendations that were recently published in high-profile impact study on the region.

Arcticnet's recommendations include improving management of large caribou herds, expanding monitoring of water quality, protection of berry production areas, assessing the sustainability of arctic char and improved weather forecasting in the region.

It is a practical roadmap that could have a real positive impact. With high rates of addiction, negative health outcomes and a life expectancy 10 years lower than the rest of Canada, it is critical that communities in the north find solutions. Fortier believes that science can help provide a guide.

"Scientific facts must inform policy and decision and, for that to happen, scientists must increasingly team up directly with stakeholders and policy makers, especially at the community and region levels where strategies to adapt are acutely needed" said Fortier.

Fortier created ArcticNet to generate the knowledge to inform policies and strategies for dealing with the effects of climate change. From the top of the Arctic Circle to Washington, D.C., and beyond, the discoveries Fortier and ArcticNet are making point the way for nations not only to anticipate but manage the changes affecting northern regions.

A full version of the impact report is available upon request.

Louis Fortier will be speaking as part of the Canada press breakfast event at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meetings in Boston. Members of the media can attend his session Sunday, February 17 at 7:45 am in room 200 at the Hynes Convention Centre.

Contact: Ryan Saxby Hill
Canada Foundation for Innovation

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