Opening Doors to Native Knowledge GRDK
The Program

Greenland Ministry of Fisheries, Hunting and Agriculture (APNN) is working to strengthen the involvement of fishermen, hunters and other environmentally interested people in the documentation and management of living resources. Therefore, the Ministry has taken initiative to establish this program.

The goal of the PISUNA Program is to optimize the monitoring of living resources through enhanced cooperation between fishermen/hunters, government managers and scientists, and through increased involvement of local community members in the monitoring.

The program has established local, fisheries/hunting-based, monitoring and management of resources in selected Greenlandic communities. This leads to:

1. A better dialogue between fishermen/hunters, government managers and scientists

2. Enhanced local capacity to monitor resources and to manage these resources within sustainable limits

3. Adaptation of the use of resources to the rapid changes that are happening in the environment as a result of climate change

In each community, the activities of the PISUNA program include five steps (see the illustration):

1) APPOINTING NATURAL RESOURCE COUNCIL MEMBERS. The Village Council establishes a Natural Resources Council comprising local fishermen, hunters and other environmentally-interested people in the community.

2) REPORTING FIELD OBSERVATIONS. The members of the Natural Resources Council, together with the municipality and the Ministry of Fisheries, Hunting and Agriculture, identify which species and resource uses they will keep track of. The participants make observations during their trips in the fishing and hunting areas of the community. Observations are written down immediately after returning from tours.

3) SUMMARIZING AND INTERPRETING OBSERVATIONS. Every three months, participants in the Natural Resources Council meet to summarize, discuss and analyze their observations and knowledge as well as discussing and coming to agreement on possible management measures. The local coordinator of the individual Natural Resource Councils organizes the meetings and the interpretation of the local observations and knowledge.

4) PROPOSING MANAGEMENT INITIATIVES. Management proposals with supporting documentation are sent to the Village Council for approval and then to the staff of the municipality. The staff of the municipality submit them to the Municipal Board, and if supported, they are then sent to the Ministry of Fisheries and Hunting and Agriculture for decision making. A copy of the observations and management proposals are also sent to coordinators in Ministry of Fisheries, Hunting and Agriculture and KNAPK, as well as to the PISUNA-net database through NORDECO.

5) VILLAGE MEETING. If possible, once a year, the Natural Resources Council presents its results at a village meeting to validate its work while at the same time obtaining broad support for the management proposals.

The PISUNA Program was developed by local fishermen, hunters and other environmentally-interested people in the communities in collaboration with Qeqertalik and Avannaata Municipalities (then Qaasuitsup Municipality), Ministry of Fisheries, Hunting and Agriculture, Ministry of Interior Affairs, Nature and Environment, Greenland Association of Fishermen and Hunters (KNAPK), Inuit Circumpolar Council, and the Association of Greenland Municipalities (KANUKOKA), amongst others. Over the years, the PISUNA Program has been supported financially by Greenland's self-government and external grants. Grants came from the Nordic Council of Ministers (Arctic Cooperation, Fisheries, Environment, and Political Initiatives) and from the EU BEST Environment Program for Overseas Territories, and the EU H2020 project INTAROS.

The participants in PISUNA use a manual. Since 2013, they also use a special form for documenting their observations and management proposals. The method used in PISUNA is described in a scientific paper and in a dr.scient.-thesis at the Natural Science Faculty, University of Copenhagen.
There is a great interest in PISUNA in other parts of the Arctic. Communities in Finland and Russia have also begun using the PISUNA method. In 2017, Greenland's Government presented the PISUNA program at the UN General Assembly.

Observations and recommendations from PISUNA's Natural Resources Councils can be read in the searchable, web-based database PISUNA-net. At the website you are looking at now, the observations and recommendations are available in their original, unedited format as they were reported by the PISUNA Natural Resources Councils from 2010 to present. The completed forms are continuously entered into the PISUNA-net database.