Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut June 07, 2018 - 2:45 pm

Nunavut raises hunting limit on Western Hudson Bay polar bears

Minister sides with Kivalliq hunters, rather than past recommendations of his department's staff

As on July 1, hunters in Nunavut can looking forward hunt a total of 19 more polar bears, following an announcement in the Nunavut legislature by Environment Minister Joe Savikataaq. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)
As on July 1, hunters in Nunavut can looking forward hunt a total of 19 more polar bears, following an announcement in the Nunavut legislature by Environment Minister Joe Savikataaq. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)

Hunters in Nunavut’s Kivalliq region will be able to take another four polar bears this year, following an announcement today by Nunavut’s environment minister, Joe Savikataaq.

“I have recently accepted a decision from the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board to increase the total allowable harvest for the Western Hudson Bay subpopulation by four bears,” Savikataaq told the legislature. “This increase will bring the total allowable harvest to a total of 38 bears per year.”

Savikataaq also announced harvest levels for the total allowable harvests for two other polar bear subpopulations, in Baffin Bay and Kane Basin, which are shared with Greenland.

Although the minister’s statement says the total allowable harvest for those sub-populations has risen from 65 to 80, on the Nunavut side, the Kane Basin TAH remains the same.

Grise Fiord, the only Nunavut community that hunts from the Kane Basin subpopulation, will see its hunting limit stay at five bears per year.

In all, the increases amount to an additional 19 polar bears that could be harvested legally by Nunavut hunters this year. The changes take effect July 1.

The polar bear hunting limit in Western Hudson Bay has long been contentious.

During a meeting of the wildlife management fall this past autumn, president of the Kivalliq Wildlife Board, Stanley Adjuk of Whale Cove, pleaded with officials to increase the limit, because of growing numbers of bears venturing near the region’s communities.

At the time, officials with Nunavut’s Department of Environment proposed freezing the hunting limit, following an aerial survey in 2016 that showed a slight decline in the polar bear subpopulation.

At that meeting, Nunavut’s wildlife director, Drikus Gissing, warned that artificially raising the total allowable harvest would only lead to reduced hunting limits later on, as the polar bear population dwindles.

“Its very difficult, almost impossible to recommend, from a scientific point of view, increasing the quota,” he told the meeting.

Kivalliq hunters have frequently insisted that their on-the-land observations are more accurate than the complicated mathematical projections of wildlife researchers.

The harvest limits for Baffin Bay and Kane Basin are less controversial. These polar bears are hunted by Inuit from both Nunavut and Greenland, and to manage these harvests, both jurisdictions created a joint commission to determine sustainable harvest numbers.

In January, Greenland announced it would increase its hunting limits in line with the commission’s findings.

Nunavut’s new harvest limits also match the commission’s recommendations, Savikataaq told the legislature.

“The joint commission recommended an overall harvest of 160 bears for this subpopulation with 80 bears to be harvested by each jurisdiction. Greenland has implemented this recommendation, and I have recently accepted the increase from 65 bears to 80 bears for Nunavut following, the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board process and decision.”

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(9) Comments:

#1. Posted by hunter from north on June 07, 2018

Polar bears are not increasing! it seems like they are but.
Since the ice in hudson bay is melting.

Back in 1900s there used to be ice all summer in the middle of the ocean in hudson bay near Churchill, Arviat area, but now it’s fewer than usual the polar bears have migrated up north to high arctic to escape and to be on ice..

But now we see more polar bears on coastal sea, and we think they are increasing.

Our elders say they hardly encounter bears on their young days in 1900s, because the bears were on ice all year round.

#2. Posted by good news for inuit on June 07, 2018

Might not be good news for non beneficiaries but this is good news for us Inuit especially Whale and Arviat people.

#3. Posted by Weekend hunter on June 07, 2018

The 50s 60s and 70s the population of polar bears were very low due to over hunting from fur traders. Using different methods to kill a bear.

This is why a quota system was set up, ever since that time the population of polar bears have increased. The number of bears increased and you see the Mother’s with cubs or young bears wondering into the communities, driven away by larger bears.

Research the statistics on polar bears for this area and you will see a increase in population.

#4. Posted by muff diver on June 07, 2018


#5. Posted by Weekday Hunter on June 07, 2018

To hunt or not to hunt bears.  Geez, I’m all confused.  Hunt them,they said yesterday!  No! don’t hunt them after 2 hours.  What to do?  Where to go?

#6. Posted by Apex Predators on June 08, 2018

Polar bears are apex predators in the arctic, with no natural predators, other than humans now. This means that their populations isnt supposed to be too high in the first place, otherwise they would collapse the population of their prey from trying to sustain their own population.

#7. Posted by Free on June 08, 2018

Good for Minister Joe - being a true decision maker… Glad the Premier Quassa brought him back to this portfolio!!

#8. Posted by Nice to see on June 12, 2018

This is very nice to see a Minister go with the hunters and elders. Other Ministers please take note of that and work fo rthe betterment of Nunavumiut and not the bureaucrats.

#9. Posted by Good to see on June 12, 2018

I’m glad the Premier did the right thing and had this Minister in the right department?

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