DFO decision to lift narwhal restrictions pleases NTI
“We are happy to hear that the retroactive removal of international trade for narwhal is removed"
Narwhal tusks may now be exported out of Canada from 16 of 17 Nunavut communities that hunt narwhal.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans lifted the international trade restrictions on narwhals, effective May 31, said Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. in a June 5 news release.
Tusks from all communities except Grise Fiord, where the DFO says it lacks information about the distribution and abundance of narwhal, may now be exported, retroactively to 2010.
Hunting narwhal has been governed by quotas since 2006, but the DFO moved in 2010 to restrict the international trade in narwhal tusks.
After a court challenge by NTI, which was later dropped, and new 2010 narwhal survey results, the DFO decided to partially lift the trade restrictions last December.
Roughly 80,000 narwhals can be found in Arctic waters, mainly around Greenland and Nunavut. Between 1990 and 2007, the DFO says an average of 102 tusks were exported each year from Nunavut.
“We are happy to hear that the retroactive removal of international trade for narwhal is removed to all but one community, and look forward to continue to working with DFO, and the community of Grise Fiord to remove trade restrictions on narwhal stocks through scientific and traditional knowledge,” said NTI vice-president James Eetoolook in the release. “The narwhal tusk ban lift is another testament that NTI continues to ensure the right of Inuit under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement are properly implemented and protected.”
But the ease in the export of narwhal tusks could change when in March 2013, Canada heads to Thailand to take part in a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.