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NTI Calls on Fisheries to Reverse Quota Transfer Decision

NR 08-08 FIS ENG NTI Asks DFO to Reverse Decision.doc

(February 19, 2008 – Cambridge Bay, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. Acting President James Eetoolook today called on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to reverse their recent decision to transfer 1,900 metric tonnes of offshore turbot quota to fishing companies owned by non-Inuit in southern Canada.

The transfer of SeaFreez’s turbot quota to two non-Inuit-owned fishing companies based in southern Canada means yet another loss of potential to create desperately needed jobs for Inuit and revenue for Nunavut’s developing fishing industry, said Eetoolook. Nunavut interests were not consulted or even given the opportunity to provide advice or interest in acquiring the quota until after the decision was made last month. This is unfair. That fish comes from waters adjacent to Nunavut, and Inuit deserve the chance to fish that resource, he said.

Under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, government is obligated to seek the advice of the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board on wildlife management decisions that affect Inuit harvesting rights and opportunities in the offshore and marine areas. NTI learned last week that DFO made the decision without consulting the NWMB.

We understand the NWMB was not given adequate notice or the opportunity to provide advice before the decision was made. The manner in which DFO made this decision is unacceptable and violates the NLCA, as well as the mandate and authority of the NWMB. I am asking DFO Minister Loyola Hearn to reverse his decision and allow Nunavut fishers the opportunity to acquire the quota, said Eetoolook.

Nunavut fishers only have access to 27 per cent of the total allowable catch of the commercial turbot quota in division 0B, the marine area adjacent to Baffin Island. Had the 1,900 MT been allocated to Nunavut, it would have raised Nunavut’s commercial turbot quota in 0B to 61.8 per cent, making Nunavut’s emerging fisheries more viable. Atlantic provinces receive 80-95 per cent of the quota in their adjacent waters.

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