Media Centre

Greenland/Canada Joint Commission on Polar Bear

(June 8, 2010 — Iqaluit, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. 1st Vice-President James Eetoolook announced today that he is pleased consensus on the need for more recent polar bear population data was established during the Greenland/Canada Joint Commission meeting this past week in Ilulissat, Greenland.

Members of the joint commission include the hunters’ organizations from the affected communities in Canada and Greenland, the government of Greenland and from Canada the federal and territorial departments of environment, NTI and the Qikitaaluk Wildlife Board.

The members met on May 28 to May 31 in Ilulissat, Greenland to discuss the health and management of the Baffin Bay and Kane Basin polar bear population.

“We know the data is old and so there is a high level of uncertainty with the accuracy of the data. We know Inuit from both Greenland and Canada have had high numbers of incidents and sightings of polar bears in the Baffin Bay region.” said Eetoolook. “Recognizing this, the recommendation from the joint commission is to collect new data so that appropriate decisions can be made.”

“ The reasons for this decision was made by the commission based on both scientific and Inuit qaujimajatuqangit advice that verified the Inuit position and the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board decision made in 2008 that there is no creditable evidence that polar bears are in decline in Baffin Bay.” continued Eetoolook.

Without the up-to-date data members of the joint commission recognize that advice on the Total Allowable Harvest of the Baffin Bay polar bear population cannot be made. To address this, the joint commission recommends decisions not be made until aerial population surveys are completed.

“Conservation is important; in order to have an effective conservation planning you need accuracy and we know from what Inuit hunters have experienced that not only is the data out-of-date it is grossly inaccurate.” said Eetoolook.


For further information:

Franco Buscemi

Director of Communications

Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated

Tel: (867) 975-4939 Toll-free: 1-888-646-0006