Nunavik takes aim against poachers


Poachers beware.

Every village in Nunavik will soon have a wildlife officer to crack down on illegal hunting and fishing, according to the head of the regional government.

A coming agreement with the provincial government will also boost the ranks of conservation officers in Kuujjuaq, which already claims the region’s only two officers. Nunavik’s largest community will have five officers when the deal is signed.

Johnny Adams, chair of the Kativik Regional Government, said the new officers will be assistants to full-fledged conservation officers who meet provincial criteria to carry a handgun.

“They’ll have equipment like canoes, four-wheelers, and snowmobiles to be able to go out on the land,” Adams said. “Their job would be to be the eye and ears of the conservation officers.”

The as-yet unconfirmed deal would also hire one conservation officer for Kuujjuarapik, in addition to the junior officer.

Adams said the regional government decided to push for junior officers because guidelines for the more senior conservation officers require French skills, which would prevent unilingual Inuit from getting the job.

“This is something the communities have been asking for over many years,” Adams said.

He added that conservation officers previously lacked funds to pursue suspected poachers, and would have to wait for case-by-case approval before starting their investigations. He said under the new shared funding agreement with the province, conservation officers will have enough resources to investigate by plane or helicopter.

Adams said the new officers should arrive by April. He did not comment on how much the project would cost.

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