QIA says Nunavut land-use plan doesn’t go far enough to protect caribou

Freshwater crossings not protected, and more sea crossings need protection, association reps say

Qikiqtani Inuit Association representatives voiced their concerns over a proposal for land use in Nunavut during a hearing this week in Iqaluit. (Screenshot from Nunavut Planning Commission)

By David Lochead

Qikiqtani Inuit Association representatives say they don’t believe a proposed plan to manage Nunavut lands does enough to protect caribou.

They voiced their concerns during hearings on the plan this week at the Cadet Hall in Iqaluit.

“We feel there is not enough caribou habitat proposed for protection,” said QIA secretary-treasurer Levi Barnabas on Wednesday.

The Nunavut Planning Commission is in charge of developing a land-use plan for the territory. It proposes where resource extraction and development can occur and which areas will be protected.

The commission has been touring around Nunavut to hold hearings on the proposed plan. It hosted hearings this fall in Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet and Pond Inlet. A hearing was also held in Thompson, Man.

Caribou were a prominent point of discussion, including the need to protect more of their habitat in the Baffin region.

While QIA is happy the proposed plan limits development in caribou herding land, the association does not believe those limits go far enough, said Solomon Awa, the association’s director of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and engagement.

Awa pointed to North Baffin and the Melville Peninsula in particular as areas where caribou migration areas are not sufficiently protected.

The draft plan also does not protect freshwater crossings for caribou, and doesn’t protect enough sea-ice crossings, he said, adding his association plans to submit a report describing what areas need more caribou protection.

Awa said the report will be developed in partnership with the Qikiqtaaluk Wildlife Board.

It will not be an exhaustive list, but will prioritize areas the two organizations believe are most important.

“We recognize not all areas can be protected,” Awa said.

QIA received some pushback on its criticisms from regional hunters and trappers associations. Specifically, Pangnirtung HTA member Johnny Mike said this is the first time he is hearing of a QIA report on concerns about caribou in his region.

He added he would like caribou from North Baffin and South Baffin to be seen as different herds.

Ben Kovic, from the Amaruq HTA in Iqaluit, pointed out other wildlife needed to be protected, specifically seals.

He told Nunatsiaq News he asked about seal protections because it is the most common food source for Inuit.

“Communities like Clyde River, Qikiqtarjuaq, they don’t really have access to [easily accessible] caribou,” he said.

Kovic also mentioned in the hearing that having answers to issues such as seal protection is important, because the deadline for consultations with the hunters’ associations is Jan. 10.

“We’re in a rush,” he said.

QIA is working on suggestions for seal protections ahead of the Jan. 10 deadline, Barnabas said.

Other concerns brought up by QIA include that the proposed land use plan could interfere with the association’s plans for future conservation, such as negotiations around Agguttinni Territorial Park near Clyde River, and that it does not include enough restrictions on marine vessel traffic.

Hearings resumed Thursday and run through Nov. 19.

 

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(4) Comments:

  1. Posted by Kivalliqmiut on

    Way to go Qikiqtaaluk HTOs and hats off to QIA for listening to your Inuit hunters and conservation priorities!

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  2. Posted by Get real on

    Ben has been involved with most of the ipg’s and whining about inuit orgs since long before this draft was created. Him being surprised does not surprise me one bit. The positions of most orgs have been public since 2016 (when minister of environment Johnny Mike) had the GN flip flop on caribou protection.

    Quassa tho, are Iqalungmiut really behind his position and attack on nti?

  3. Posted by Withheld on

    You guys are lucky to have a designated organization that focus on their own people! Our Kitikmeot organization onl takes all the federally funded programs and turn them into mining shares so that is people can get money if they make a profit.

  4. Posted by Concerns for Community’s small circled own Lands on

    In around our community’s circled and some in narrow lines own lands….I think that our ancestors circled the lands that the lands were constantly were for animals….NOT the minerals……We will be missing so much when the explorer finds potential minerals that are NOT in the Inuit Parcels….PLEASE let us do them again….that we the children of our ancestors know little better and NOT in HURRY…..EVERYTHING here in RUCH RUSH and RUSH….like the our early negotiators for the Nunavut’s Agreement…..WE were forced to vote for the Nunavut….when it was NOT ready…..only soapstone was claimed….because t the negotiators only knew about the soapstone……

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