Project Dashboard

Community-based study of under-ice benthic assemblages in the Arctic (BenthArctic) (149725)
Proposal Status: Conformity Determination Issued
Project Overview
Type of application: New
Proponent name: Annie Mercier
Company: OSC - Memorial University
Start Date: 2022-07-31
End Date: 2023-06-30
Operation Type: Annual
Project Description:
The proposed project builds on interest expressed by Inuit communities in Nunavut to assess the status and value of their marine benthic resources and prospects for their sustainable use in the context of food security and climate change. It aims to expand our understanding of nearshore benthic assemblages, with a focus on winter-spring processes occurring at sea-ice edges and on species of relevance to commercial and subsistence fisheries. Interlinked objectives will be dedicated to fundamental research, practical knowledge transfer and community mobilization. Field work is expected to take place in the summer/fall of 2022 and the winter/spring of 2023. The approach centers on the use of a portable remotely operated vehicle (ROV) deployed through holes in the sea ice to investigate the benthic community structure and diversity in two regions (Low vs High Arctic, specifically Sanikiluaq and Grise Fiord). The ROV will have minimal environmental impact; it will capture videos of the benthos and collect a few water, sediment and biological samples for analysis. Videos will be used for scientific analyses and to create education material; they will be shared with end users in the two localities. A complementary segment will assess methods best adapted for the collection and handling of key commercial species. Benthic life occurring underneath or close to inshore polynyas and landfast ice edges in the Arctic is an understudied topic. Findings thus have the potential to yield novel information on species interactions and benthic-pelagic coupling, including how birds and mammals both depend on and fuel the underlying benthos. The project brings together academic investigators (scientists and students), the territorial government, an NGO partner, an Inuit Birthright Corporation, the local Hunters and Trappers Organizations (HTOs), and other members of the Inuit communities. Ultimately it will produce conservation and technical guidelines for species that might be targeted for premium markets (seafood, nutraceuticals, and pharmaceuticals). Moreover, the project will ground-truth the use of small-sized submersibles as a tool for research and capacity-building in areas where other methods would be too destructive or impractical (due to ice cover or shallow depth). Community leaders and youth will be the primary informants and participants in the project.
Persons: 10
Days: 14
Project Map
List of all project geometries:
ID Geometry Location Name
8571 point New project geometry
8572 polyline New project geometry
8573 point New project geometry
8574 polyline New project geometry
Planning Regions:
Affected Areas and Land Types
Settlement Area
North Baffin Planning Region
Project Land Use and Authorizations
Project Land Use
Scientific Research
Winter Access
Licensing Agencies
DFO: Fish for Scientific Purposes Permit
Other Licensing Requirements
No data found.
Material Use
Type Quantity Size Use
Portable remotely operated vehicle 1 12x14x20 inches Underwater surveys, sample collection
Fuel Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
No records found.
Hazardous Material and Chemical Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
No records found.
Water Consumption
Daily Amount (m3) Retrieval Method Retrieval Location
Waste and Impacts
Environmental Impacts
The main training and assessments will be conducted using a small remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for image-based surveys and collection of seawater and marine sediment parameters. The ROV will either be deployed in the ocean, through holes in the ice, or towed from a boat in the community. Local participants will opportunistically use their fishing gear (nets, rakes and mini trawls) to obtain additional samples of the sediment and benthos. All the work will be conducted inshore (<100 m). The images will allow us to estimate abundance and size distributions for echinoderms (sea urchins, sea cucumbers) and other macrobenthic invertebrates (e.g. sea anemones, mussels, scallops). A limited number of biological samples will be collected for taxonomic identification, stable isotope /fatty acid analyses, and determination of caloric content. We do not anticipate to generate any wastes from these activities.
Waste Management
Waste Type Quantity Generated Treatement Method Disposal Method
No data found.
Category: Application form attachment - License/ Authorization
Recieved: 2022-03-14
Originator: Annie Mercier
Public Registry ID: 19581
Document Size: 141.04 Kb
Category: Application related document - Conformity Determination Letter
Recieved: 2022-04-12
Originator: Adrian Gerhartz
Public Registry ID: 19901
Document Size: 235.79 Kb
2022-03-21 11:14:50, from: Adrian Gerhartz
 Please correct Questionnaire to reflect compliance with Appendix C, H, and I of the North Baffin Regional Land Use Plan (General, Caribou Protection Measures, Heriatge Resource)


Environmental Protection:
s3.13.8: The applicant undertakes to prevent any new occurrences of pollution, garbage and contamination at the site of the development.

Removal of Fuel Drums:
s3.13.8: The applicant undertakes to remove all drums safely from the site and dispose of the drums in a safe manner.

New Site Restoration and Clean Up:
s3.13.1 and Appendix H, s1: The applicant undertakes to clean up the site and restore the site to its natural condition to the greatest extent possible.

Old Site Restoration and Clean Up:
s3.13.2: The applicant undertakes to clean up the site and restore the site to its original condition to the greatest extent possible, including any work required due to the applicant's action prior to this application.

Low-Level Air Flights:
Appendix H, s3: Will the applicant avoid all low-level flights?

Caribou Protection Measures:
s3.3.7 and Appendix D: Will the applicant comply with the Caribou Protection Measures outlined in section 2.4.6 and in Appendix D?

Caribou Water Crossings:
s3.3.7 and map: Will the applicant avoid, between may 15 and September 1, to construct any camp, cache any fuel or conduct any blasting within 10 km of any Designated Caribou Water Crossing identified

Polar Bear Denning Areas and Walrus Haul-outs:
s3.3.8: Will the applicant keep its activities away from any polar bear denning area or walrus haul-out?

Reporting of Archaeological Sites:
s3.11.3 and Appendix H, s2 and s8: Will the applicant immediately report the discovery of all suspected archaeological sites to the Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth (GN)?

Scientific Research:
s3.9.3: Does the project proposal involve scientific research?
If yes, will the applicant integrate all available and relevant local and traditional knowledge when conducting its research?

Consultation with Nunavut Research Institute:
s3.9.5: Has the applicant consulted with the Nunavut Research Institute about research topics that would benefit or interest local residents?
i. Describe the results of your consultation.
Consultation with local HTOs and Government of Nunavut since 2019. Just because aware of NRI.
Local Services and Local Employment:
s3.9.4: Will the applicant rely on local services and employment where possible?
i. Describe the services retained and the people to be employed.
Transport and guides.

Communication on Scientific Research:
s3.2.8: The applicant will, at minimum, translate a summary of its work into Inuktitut and communicate with communities using language that is clear and non-technical. The results of all scientific re