Snowchange Highlights Female Fishers on the International Women’s Day – Noora, Karoliina and Minna are the keys to our fishing success

Karoliina Lehtimäki
Karoliina Lehtimäki

Today is the International Women’s Day. Snowchange celebrates the women involved in the fisheries in the Cooperative together with LIFE – Low Impact Fishers of Europe.

Snowchange fisheries involve many female experts. Noora Huusari, our Head of Human Resources handles our distributions and sales. Minna Kutvonen, a recent addition to staff, fishes professionally in Värtsilä community and is involved in the sales, processing and other parts.

On the ice, Karoliina Lehtimäki is a part of our seining team. She’s a 27-year-old woman, who could never have imagined taking up fishing as a profession. However, fate had other plans for her. It all started during the 2021 winter seining fishing season when Noora, her friend from university, who worked for the Snowchange Cooperative, asked her to help in cleaning vendace, a local commercial fish species. Although she had no idea about this task, Karoliina agreed to help out.

While they were learning the art of cleaning vendace by hand, Karoliina’s friend Noora told her more about seine fishing in Finland, especially in Lake Puruvesi. Karoliina was fascinated and joined the seine cleaning crew a few times this winter to learn more about the process.

Today Karoliina is already in her second winter as a member of the seining crew. Under the guidance of Lauri Hämäläinen, the crew leader, she is well on her way to becoming immersed in the fishing profession. Henri Leskinen, who only fishes in winter, is also part of the team. Together they fish at Lake Puruvesi in eastern Finland, which is known for its clear water and centuries-old tradition of winter seining.

Our winter seining season lasts from early January to early April, depending on ice conditions. During the open water season, which usually lasts from March to November, they switch to fishing with traps and gillnets. On the occasion of International Women’s Day the Low Impact Fishers of Europe is running a large story and interview with Karoliina, here.

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New Policy Brief on the Traditional Knowledge of Fisheries in Europe; CHERISH Project Winds Down

Snowchange Fisher Karoliina Lehtimäki checks the fish traps in June 2022.

The Interreg CHERISH Project is winding down. Snowchange experts release a Pan-European Policy Brief on traditional knowledge and the small-scale fishers.

The policy brief highlights the endangered role of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) across Europe. In this brief TEK is associated specifically with small-scale fisheries (SSF) maintaining cultural heritage. The brief positions the knowledge in a wider context of sustainability and heritage and offers action points to improve the status and renewal of TEK.

The Cherish project has been working since 2017. It concludes in Spring 2023. 

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Heading to Greenland: EU Arctic Forum Kicks of the 2023 International Events

The European Commission and the Government of Greenland will jointly organise the EU Arctic Forum and Indigenous Peoples’ Dialogue in Nuuk, Greenland, on 8-9 February 2023. Snowchange staff and Steering Members in attendance.

The European Commission and the Government of Greenland will jointly organise the EU Arctic Forum and Indigenous Peoples’ Dialogue in Nuuk, Greenland, on 8-9 February 2023.

High-level representatives from the European Commission, the EU External Action Service and the Government of Greenland will host the event.

A broad range of Arctic stakeholders representing governments, international organisations, civil society, industry, research, indigenous and local communities will feed into the discussions. Youth perspectives will feature prominently throughout the event.

The EU Arctic Forum (8 February) will provide an opportunity to assess recent developments in the Arctic and to discuss challenges ahead. It will look at some of the achievements of the EU Arctic policy in recent years and will continue to provide a strategic outlook for the years to come. The Indigenous Peoples’ Dialogue (9 February) will offer a platform for discussion on Arctic matters affecting Indigenous Peoples.

The EU Arctic Forum and Indigenous Peoples’ Dialogue will include keynote addresses and panel sessions focusing on international cooperation, sustainable and inclusive economic development in the Arctic, human and societal matters, addressing the risks and challenges posed by climate change, Arctic partnerships, or research, innovation and Arctic knowledge.

Snowchange Steering Group member, Sámi Council President Aslak Holmberg will present during the week as well as Tero Mustonen. Several Indigenous delegates and researchers, including from the Arctic Passion, will attend.

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An Archaeological Breakthrough Starts the Year


Snowchange staff and friends has discovered the very first inland ancient labyrinth or “Troy Town” from Arctic Finland.

Following a public announcement from the Museum of Lapland in late 2022, Snowchange can confirm that Jaakko Pohjoismäki originally in 2021 and subsequently Snowchange staff in 2022 has been involved in a discovery that is a historic first.

A labyrinth from Nauvo, coastal Finland, wikipedia.

A labyrinth from Nauvo, coastal Finland, wikipedia.

Usually these pre- and early- historic labyrinths are found on the coast of Finland, where they are associated with Swedish and / or Scandinavian traditions, and then some have been discovered in Kola Peninsula, Russia.

Staff member Lauri Hämäläinen next to the site in August 2022.

Staff member Lauri Hämäläinen next to the site in August 2022.

Now, the 2021-22 discovery from Savukoski, Eastern Lapland, marks the first ever inland labyrinth to be discovered, at least 260 kilometers from the Baltic Sea coast. Over the past year, archaeologists at the Museum of Lapland have inventoried the find and confirm that it is actually first of its kind inland and also rather unique in design. Now the site is protected by law.

Snowchange continues this process to support unique Arctic cultural heritage and will work towards a scientific publication of the results.

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Tumultuous Year Ends With Support for Sámi Forests and Messages from the Bering Sea


2022, a tumultous year draws to a close with major news of a support from Sweden to the Sámi forest rewilding and restoration. Additionally, a new science paper highlights the work with the Inupiaq in Unalakleet, Alaska.

Snowchange Arctic Rewilding

Swedish Postcode Lottery has stepped in to support the Sámi forest work of Snowchange. They have recently approved a large two year project Indigenous and Traditional Knowledge Rewilding of Boreal Forests in Finland that works with Sámi and Finnish villages to restore and conserve critically important boreal forests in Finland, as 97% of them have been lost between 1900-2022.

Postkodstiftelsens loggaBy combining Indigenous knowledge and science, this project will restore and protect 250 hectares of Sámi forests, and positively influence up to 1000 hectares of middle boreal forests and associated peatlands, to support biodiversity, climate change mitigation, and Indigenous-traditional livelihoods.

The project advances a novel, reformative approach to restoration and conservation summarized as ICCAs – Indigenous and Community Conservation Areas as defined by the UN Environmental Programme. It addresses the past equity issues in conservation, provides the Sámi and other villages with agency for the first time in their own areas, and pride in restoration and conservation.

As a step up into this direction, a small peatland and forest Sámi ecosystem of Kaksamajärvi was added to the Landscape Rewilding Programme today.

Voices from Changing Unalakleet

Widely recognized environmental changes have been negatively impacting communities in the Arctic for decades. The increased prevalence of open water in the Bering Sea during winter months, also known as sea ice loss, has uprooted annual traditional subsistence activities across the Bering Sea region. This article investigates the consequences of sea ice loss on traditional subsistence activities in Unalakleet, Alaska.

Permafrost melt event close to the village. Photo: Kaare Erickson

Permafrost melt event close to the village. Photo: Kaare Erickson

In conjunction with the loss of sea ice over the past 30 years, the winter season in Unalakleet has shifted from cold and dry weather regimes to warmer and wetter winters. The change in winter weather and the increased prevalence of open water in winter has deeply impacted the people of Unalakleet by affecting environmental conditions and the availability of subsistence of resources, notably influencing winter and spring marine mammals hunts that people in the Unalakleet area have relied on for thousands of years.

A new science article out now in Oceanography is guided by the perspectives, knowledge, and intuition of people from Unalakleet, and looks specifically at how the increased prevalence of open water in the Bering Sea during wintertime has impacted traditional subsistence rounds (the succession of food resources through the seasons) in Unalakleet, Alaska, in 2022.

With these major news we wish the best for the Xmas and better New Year!

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