Safeguarding Our Seafood Project

Since time immemorial, Nuu-chah-nulth people have harvested and eaten ocean foods. Our culture, health, and livelihood depend on them. Yet after the 2011 accident at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan, some Nuu-chah-nulth began to ask if local seafood was safe to eat. Not only do ocean foods feed our communities, but we eat them in much higher quantities than other Canadians. If radioactive contaminants are present in our food, the risk to our health could therefore be much greater than the average person. In 2014, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC), with funds from the First Nations Health Authority, partnered with the Vancouver Aquarium and Simon Fraser University to find out whether or not radiation from the Fukushima accident was present in our seafood.

The Results

Seafood is very important to Nuu-chah-nulth people. The study found average total seafood consumption to be 52.8 kg/year–that’s six times higher than the average Canadian (236 kg/year compared to 8.8 kg/year). Researchers found no Fukushima-related radiation in kelp or crab and very low levels of radiation from the Fukushima accident in half of the sockeye salmon sampled but levels were so low that there were no risks to human health.

Can I Safely Eat Seafood Now?

Our study showed that three types of seafood commonly eaten by Nuu-chah-nulth people are safe to eat. Let’s keep monitoring our seafood to ensure the foods we love remain safe for our communities, now and into the future.

Click HERE for a downloadable copy of the Safeguarding Our Seafood poster.

Stewardship Youth Photovoice

In the summer of 2014, in partnership with the Community Conservation Research Network and the University of Victoria’s Science Venture program, Uu-a-thluk hosted science camps in several Nuu-chah-nulth communities with stewardship as a focus. Equipped with cameras, the children and youth went into their territories with the teachings of Nuu-chah-nulth stewardship principles and practices in mind. Images and statements they created show thought-provoking insights and ideas from our generation about taking care of our precious environment. The following is a digital story that captures their insights and images.

The following stories were created by Nuu-chah-nulth youth and members of the Nashuk Youth Council:

What does uu-a-thluk or “taking care of” the environment, mean to you? Digital Harvest by Letitia Rampanen Veres Alku by Damon Rampanen The Effects of Colonization on Our Diets by Keenan Jules Pool of Cheap Labour by Nikki Watts Justice League of Hitacu by Mitcholos Touchie Away From Home by Christopher Smith and Brittany Gillette

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