(June 5, 2012 –Iqaluit) Nunavut Tunngavik vice President James Eetoolook today announced that the International trade restrictions on narwhal tusks has been removed by Department of Fisheries and Oceans for all Nunavut Communities except one – Grise Fiord.
In 2010 DFO stopped issuing CITES export permits for narwhal tusks from 17 Nunavut communities. NTI challenged this trade restriction by initiating legal action against DFO. In June 2011, NTI and DFO resolved their legal issues by signing an “alternative resolution agreement”. In October 2011, DFO issued a non-detrimental finding report, which removed the trade restrictions on 4 of the 17 Nunavut communities that was retroactive to 2010.
In a letter dated 31 May 2012, DFO has issued a non-detrimental finding report which removes the trade restrictions on 12 of the remaining 13 Nunavut communities that is also retroactive to 2010. Grise Fiord is the only community that continues to have a restriction on the international trade of narwhal products, as DFO has no scientific information on the distribution or abundance of narwhals in Jones Sound, Smith Sound or Parry Channel.
“The narwhal tusk ban lift is another testament that NTI continues to ensure the right of Inuit under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement are properly implemented and protected.” said Eetoolook. “We are happy to hear that the retroactive removal of international trade for narwhal is removed to all but one community, and look forward to continue to working with DFO, and the community of Grise Fiord to remove trade restrictions on narwhal stocks through scientific and traditional knowledge data gathering”.