Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut February 18, 2013 - 2:27 pm

Nunavut narwhal management plan aims for April 1 launch

Department of Fisheries and Oceans holds meetings with regional wildlife orgs

This map shows the six
This map shows the six "management units" for narwhal in Nunavut waters. (FILE IMAGE)

Nunavut’s first integrated fisheries management plan for narwhal is one step closer to being wrapped up after meetings in Iqaluit last week, says Larry Dow, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’s area director for the Eastern Arctic.

That’s the new management plan for narwhal in Nunavut, which will be implemented through establishing narwhal quotas for six management units and the Nunavut communities within those units.

Now members of regional wildlife organizations who participated in the Iqaluit meetings have to go back to their communities. They’ll talk to members of their hunters and trappers organizations and then get back to the DFO by March 1 with their feedback, Dow said.

This means the management plan should in place by April 1, he said.

“It’s approved already, so essentially it’s already in place, but they have to get the final details,” Dow said.

The groups that attended the Iqaluit meeting represented communities from the Baffin region, which includes four management units.

Under the new plan, developed with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board and hunters and trappers associations, there’s a big increase in the quota for narwhals in the Baffin region, from 592 to 1123.

“That was based on co-management, working with the partners to review everything and also DFO science as well,” Dow said.

For Jones Sound, the narwhal management unit that includes Grise Fiord, the quota is already set to increase from 20 to 50 narwhals.

As for how the quota will be divided within the other units, “there were several options,” he said.

“They sat down, they had in-camera [discussions], they put a lot of work into it, and they decided on two options, and they will bring that back to our communities and let us know,” said Dow, who would not provide details on those options.

Whether or not other communities will see an increase or decrease in their quotas depends on what’s brought back from the HTOs, Dow said.

“That will be determined in a couple weeks,” he said, adding that overall the recent talks in Iqaluit went “extremely well.”

While goal of last week’s meetings was “to come up with some total allowable harvest scenarios for the hunting season as of April 1,” similar meetings still need to take place in the Kivalliq and Kitikmeot regions.

When contacted for an interview, NTI said it would comment at a later date.

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