22nd April 2013 PRESS RELEASE
THE SKOLT SÁMI PROVIDE FIRST NATIONAL COLLABORATIVE MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR THE NÄÄTÄMÖ WATERSHED AND ATLANTIC SALMON IN FINLAND
On 25th April 2013, a new collaborative management plan for the Näätämö/Neiden river will be released in Sevettijärvi, Finland. Majority of the Skolt Sámi people live in this community. The Neiden river flows from Finland to Norway and contains internationally significant population of the Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar).
The co-management plan contains results of a project “Skolt Sámi Survival in the Middle of Rapid Change” that worked from 2009 to 2013, with various manifestations, in the Neiden watershed. It was a cooperation between the Skolt Sámi and other Eastern Sámi communities, the Saa’mi Nu’ett cultural organization and the Snowchange Cooperative. Partners also included the Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Assessment – IPCCA, United Nations University – Traditional Knowledge Initiative and the Sámi Council. The project is part of the international Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Assessment (IPCCA) initiative that is being developed and coordinated by a Peru-based indigenous non-profit organization, ANDES, and supported by UNU.
By applying the IPCCA methodology of community-led self-reflection, evaluation, and future-visioning based on local worldviews and traditional knowledge, the Sevettijärvi Skolt developed a community-based climate change adaptation plan. Out of this process a collective consensus has emerged that the climate change challenges faced by the reindeer, while significant, are manageable given the present-day nature of reindeer herding. Instead, the Skolt Sámi identified their customary salmon fishery, the other half of their traditional subsistence and cultural identity, as a much greater concern.
The co-management plan will be first of its kind in Finland and in the region. It was already partially implemented regarding traditional knowledge observations in summer 2012. The plan includes wide-reaching reforms to the management and harvest of salmon. It also includes the Kven and other local people of the watershed in an unprecedented way – thus the plan is also a renewable resource conflict-resolution tool. Additionally, the work was expanded with the co-funding from the Nordic Council of Ministers to cover additional workshops in the Neiden watershed and the Ponoi watershed in the Murmansk region, Russia. Ponoi is a significant salmon river in the region. As Finland has not ratified Sámi rights to lands or waters despite its international commitments, this Plan is relevant in providing steps in a practical context for the solution of the simmering, on-going conflict using community-based and –relevant tools.
Further details and to order copies of the plan:
Tero Mustonen, Ph D, President, Snowchange Cooperative, Finland, email: tero(at)snowchange.org, tel. + 358 407372424