Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 346

346         Arctic Yearbook 2014 Due to the atmospheric deposition of far-ranging air pollutants, many of these toxins now infuse the remote Arctic environment. Further contamination risks have also been placed on human health and wildlife by the unmonitored industrial wastes which have accumulated around harbors, oil rigs, mines and the Arctic’s two thousand military sites (Fisk et al. 2003). As a result of these pollutants, contaminated food has become a widespread concern among Arctic indigenous communities which rely heavily on the hunting and gathering of local foods. The Inuit eat four times the amount of fish per capita than other Canadians and further increase their exposure risks by eating the fats and organs of marine mammals where lipophilic contaminants accumulate (Fisk et al. 2003). The significance of these activities to the well-being of an entire community is further amplified by kinship systems that promote widespread food distribution and sharing (Birkes et al. 2003). DFO has never had the capacity nor the mandate to fix the complex international issue of atmospheric POPs. Indeed, it is a problem which has long engaged Canada and its indigenous peoples in ongoing United Nations negotiations and treaty-making (Downie & Fenge 2003). However, DFO and federal policies do intersect around the human use of these contaminated resources in a number of ways. These policies have the potential to either undermine or support the well-being of local communities through their ability to provide reliable information, restrict access to marine resources or valuable habitats, give value to local interests and knowledge, and, ultimately, determine the future of a community’s overall human and natural resource wealth. With Canada’s long \