NEWS: Nunavik May 15, 2018 - 9:30 am

Nunavik Inuit welcome move to regulate salmon harvest

Quebec government now requires visiting fishermen to hire outfitters

SARAH ROGERS

Nunavik’s Makivik Corp. is welcoming a recent decision by the Quebec government that now requires non-Indigenous salmon sport fishers visiting the region to use an outfitting service.

Quebec’s Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks recently amended its regulations for fishing licences to require the use of an outfitter for salmon sport-fishing in zones 23 and 24, which cover the Nunavik region.

The province has said the reason behind the move is twofold: to help protect Quebec’s Atlantic salmon—some species of which are considered of special concern under the federal Species at Risk Act—as well as to respect Nunavik’s land claim agreement.

The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement says non-Indigenous hunters and fishermen should endeavour to use outfitters when they’re available.

“For years, Nunavik Inuit have demanded Quebec fulfill its obligations under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement by putting a stop to uncontrolled sport-fishing by non-beneficiaries who access the Inuit territory of Nunavik by float plane,” Makivik Corp. said in a May 3 news release.

“The decision to stop this practice is a step in the right direction, and we have full confidence that the minister will now take the necessary steps to implement provisions for other sport fisheries.”

The change is in place as of April 1, 2018 and will stay in place until March 2020.

It applies to zone 23, which covers the vast majority of the Nunavik region, as well as zone 24, a smaller region at the southern end of the George River, northeast of Schefferville. Salmon fishing in Nunavik is mainly focused in the southern part of the region, along the Koksoak, Whale, Leaf and George Rivers.

Quebec’s Liberal government has said the new rules will help better regulate the industry and provide better data on the harvest of salmon in the region.

But the change has also drawn criticism from Quebec’s Parti Québécois, which has argued that the new requirement creates a financial barrier for fishers visiting the region, who can pay up to $2,000 a day for outfitting services.