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NTI Applauds DFO’s Decision to support the Baffin Fisheries Coalition

NR 04-27 DFO ENG Baffin Fisheries Coalition.doc

(July 15, 2004 — Iqaluit, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) 2nd Vice-President Raymond Ningeocheak today applauded Fisheries Minister Geoff Regan’s decision to stand by the Baffin Fisheries Coalition’s request to use MV Inuksuk in the NAFO 0A Turbot Fishery.

This decision by Minister Regan is a significant step in the right direction to help us build Nunavut’s commercial fishery, said NTI’s Second Vice-President Raymond Ningeocheak. NTI has actively supported the Baffin Fisheries Coalition (BFC) in its efforts to develop the fishery off Baffin Island, and we believe the BFC’s request to the federal Minister to use MV Inuksuk was fully justified and appropriate. This turbot allocation remains with BFC and will not be taken over by foreign interest – This is not a give away.

The Nunavut Economic Development Strategy released last fall by the organizations now known as the Nunavut Economic Forum identified the fishery as a key sector of Nunavut’s economy. As a member of the Forum, NTI believes the MV Inuksuk will be an important component in building up the fishery. The approach taken by the BFC will create more training and employment opportunities than the alternatives that were considered. The MV Inuksuk will have a 51% Inuit crew onboard.

Ningeocheak added that recent statements from Ottawa in regard to the BFC’s request for the use of this vessel are inaccurate and potentially harmful to how Nunavut develops this promising fishery. Statement by some individuals, including in the Parliament of Canada, to the effect that this decision runs counter to the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement simply do not make sense. The BFC’s approach is consistent with the Land Claims by providing an approach that maximizes Inuit employment and respects the principles of conservation

The Nunavut Fisheries Working Group (comprised of the NWMB, NTI and the Government of Nunavut – GN) will be taking steps to address the inaccurate information Ottawa may be receiving on Nunavut Fisheries.

Ningeocheak also noted that the members of the Nunavut Fisheries Working Group have arranged a conflict resolution meeting between the BFC, Cumberland Sound Fisheries, and Pangirtung Fisheries Ltd. It is unfortunate that these disputes happen, and we hope that an amicable agreement can be reached by the parties that will serve the best interests of Nunavummiut.

For further information:

Joanasie Kanayuk
Communications Department
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
Tel: (867) 975-4900
Toll-free: 1-888-646-0006