Nunavut Tunngavik Acting President James Eetoolook today encouraged Inuit to attend a public hearing in Iqaluit hosted by the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board to review the draft integrated fisheries management plan for narwhal proposed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
The draft management plan was developed by DFO in consultation with NTI, Regional Wildlife Organizations and Hunter and Trappers Organizations in an attempt to establish a total allowable harvest for narwhal that respects Inuit harvesting rights while promoting the sustainable harvesting and trade of narwhal. The proposed management plan will propose total allowable harvest that is based on summering stocks, a two tag system for some communities, and new reporting requirements for hunters.
DFO finalized the draft plan and presented it for approval to NWMB after conducting consultations with Inuit last March. NWMB will now review the draft plan and solicit input and comments from Inuit and the public. If the plan is accepted, the DFO minister can establish the total allowable harvest and have the new plan in place by the CITES (Committee on International Trade of Endangered Species) meeting in March, 2013, and in time for next year’s narwhal harvest.
Canadian representatives at the CITES meeting will use the management plan to show the international community that narwhal are responsibly managed in Canada and that international trade presents no threat to the survival of the species.
Two representatives from each Regional Wildlife Organization and one Elder will be invited to attend from each of Nunavut’s regions. The public hearing will be held in Iqaluit on July 24-26.