NWMB still waiting for new turbot quotas

Members of the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board still says there should be no quota increase for Davis Strait turbot ­ but they’re still waiting for David Anderson, the new federal fisheries minister, to announce a new quota.

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

ANNETTE BOURGEOIS

They may have won their day in court, but Nunavut turbot fishers are still waiting to see if they’ll have any say over quotas in Davis Strait.

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. launched a court challenge against the former federal fisheries minister, Fred Mifflin, after he announced an 1100-tonne increase in the turbot quota earlier this spring and allocated only 100 tonnes of that to Nunavut.

A federal court ruled that the former minister ignored the Nunavut land claim agreement and the advice of the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board when he announced the increase to the Davis Strait quota.

In his July 14 ruling, Justice Douglas Campbell wrote that “there must be meaningful inclusion of the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board in the government decision-making process before any decisions are made.”

Campbell went on to state that “this means if the government is contemplating taking a position, that possible position must be put to the NWMB to obtain advice and recommendations before any final conclusion is reached about including the position in a decision.”

Jim Noble, executive director of the NWMB, wants the new fisheries minister, David Anderson, to take this advice and consult the board before announcing a new quota.

No word from new minister yet

And though he’s called the minister, he had no response as of Monday.

And with fishing season set to get underway in the next couple of weeks, Noble was hoping to have had some contact from the minister sooner.

“We were hoping it was (last) Friday,” Noble said about a new quota announcement, “but it didn’t come.”

Fishery closed for now

The minister did, however, announce the closure of the turbot fishery to all fixed and mobile gear vessels last Friday until a new quota is announced.

Noble wouldn’t say what the NWMB is looking for in the way of a new quota.

“I don’t want to release that until we negotiate a little bit with DFO,” he said.

Noble added the board is maintaining its position on conservation ­ to keep the quota at 5500 metric tonnes with no increase at all.

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