Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut July 14, 2014 - 6:54 am

Ottawa eyes bigger bowhead harvest quota for Nunavut

Wildlife boards from Baffin and Kivalliq each want two whales annually, up from one

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Members of the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board hold public hearings June 18 into a request by the Kitikmeot Regional Wildlife Board to increase the total allowable harvest of polar bears in the M'Clintock Channel to 18 from the current three. The NWMB has not yet made a recommendation on that request. (PHOTO BY RED SUN PRODUCTIONS)
Members of the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board hold public hearings June 18 into a request by the Kitikmeot Regional Wildlife Board to increase the total allowable harvest of polar bears in the M'Clintock Channel to 18 from the current three. The NWMB has not yet made a recommendation on that request. (PHOTO BY RED SUN PRODUCTIONS)

It’s now up to the federal fisheries and oceans minister to decide if Baffin whalers will be able to harvest one extra bowhead annually.

But soon after Gail Shea makes that decision, she’ll have to consider a similar request from the Kivalliq region.

The Qikiqtaaluk Wildlife Board made a formal request through the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board Feb. 5 asking for an increase to the total allowable harvest of bowheads to four, from the current three.

Right now, each region gets to harvest one bowhead whale annually, but Baffin hunters are making the case that they should get the opportunity to harvest two whales.

In its submission, the QWB said it has built up enough capacity and expertise to handle a second whale harvest annually and that “current research on bowhead whale suggests the Baffin population is stable and growing.”

“In increasing the number of hunts in this region, we are working to develop, and diversify, the experience,” said James Qillaq, who signed the submission as chair of the QWB.

“We believe we create the opportunity to develop more effective strategies to deal with a range of issues beyond ensuring a safe and successful hunt; issues like processing, distribution and utilization of the whale.”

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada upgraded the status of the bowhead whale from “endangered” to “special concern” in 2009.

After its June board meeting in Cambridge Bay, the NWMB made a recommendation on the issue and submitted it to the DFO minister, who has the final say. The NWMB recommendation is not public until the DFO minister makes her decision.

The minister has 60 days, or until mid-August, to accept or reject the NWMB’s recommendation.

On April 28, just days after the NWMB closed public comments and submissions on the bowhead harvest request, the Kivalliq Wildlife Board made the same request – to increase their regional harvest from one to two whales.

In their submission, the KWB says it has given their 2014 quota to Chesterfield Inlet and wants to allow Coral Harbour a bowhead too.

“It would greatly benefit the Kivalliq region, and the muktuk from the bowhead(s) would be distributed amongst the communities to ensure all beneficiaries carry on the traditional diet of consuming bowhead muktuk, which is now considered a rare delicacy,” writes Ross Tatty, who signed the submission as chair of the Kivalliq Wildlife Board.

Interested parties have until Aug. 15 to make written bilingual submissions. That’s right around the deadline for Shea to decide on the first bowhead harvest request.

The NWMB also made a recommendation to the DFO minister on a new Integrated Fishery Management Plan for Cambridge Bay, put forward by the Ekaluktutiak Hunters and Trappers Organization.

That plan covers a wide range of issues including stock conservation, fisheries monitoring, licence conditions, compliance and harvest reporting — all in an effort to ensure the resource is sustainable into the future.

The new management plan, developed by the Cambridge Bay Arctic Char Working Group, recognizes the 50-year evolution of the commercial char fishery in Cambridge Bay.

That fishery occurs on five rivers — Paliryuak (Surrey), Halokvik (Thirty-mile), Palik (Lauchlan), Ekalluktok (Ekalluk), and Jayko (Jayco) — with a total quota of 53,500 kilograms and has an estimated market value of $1.15 million.

It is the largest commercial Arctic char fishery in Nunavut.

The DFO minister has until mid-August to accept or reject the NWMB’s decision on this matter.

At their June meeting in Cambridge Bay, the NWMB also hosted public hearings on increasing the total allowable harvest of polar bears in the M’Clintock Channel to 18 bears from the current three.

The NWMB has not yet made a decision on that matter. When they do, they will submit their recommendation to the federal environment minister, Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq, who will make the final decision.

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(6) Comments:

#1. Posted by CalmWaterBliss on July 14, 2014

Well it’s almost a given what both answers will be decided by the Cons. 

Based on Harper Cons, anti environment, massive changes to navigable waters act, no global warming/change happening and endangered species are a thing of the past.

Plus with the up coming Inuvik big meeting with Harper has honorary name and special video speaker he has to keep the environment con illusion as all fine.  Also Nunavut MP Cam Bay, Iqaluit and Rankin up coming meetings it’s a given on the polar bears as well.

Hearing the people and looking at bowhead whale catches the size of the whale has become much smaller..

Ross Tatty has given the Cons a gift, right up their ally. Where science isn’t listened to, or to be educated in, understood, respected. Approval keeps a growing list of environmentalist as enemy of the state and religion thinking as tops, keeping people’s thinking back in the stone age and science, truths, knowledge dead.

#2. Posted by CaptainCanada on July 14, 2014

#1 you need to educate yourself and learn more about this topic before going on as you just did and making yourself look like an as&.
Science is involve in this if you bothered to look into it further.
By the way, we are interested in the smaller whales as their muktak taste better, a little knowledge past on to you.

#3. Posted by Formerest Insider of All Formerest Insiders on July 15, 2014

Yes the muktak tastes better. Do you eat and dry the meat as well? Not enough people are eating the meat, just hunting whales and leaving the carcasses, beluga and narwal, to rot after the muktak is taken. An Iqaluit thing I guess. We eat the meat in the small communities.

#4. Posted by Bear Code on July 15, 2014

Of course they will approve it, they want people to be happy with them so they can start drilling for oil and gas under the ice without any problems.  Good deal for Harper, 4 whales for millions of barrels of oil.

#5. Posted by FarNorth on July 16, 2014

Well when “The NWMB recommendation is not public until the DFO minister makes her decision’  it is a BIG unknown what science will be given or used when considering and how the Cons trash science truths.

Talking with Repluse Bay whale hunters they were looking for a big one but only found small sized whale. Read other news reports and your find the same type of comments.

If taking only small whales have they reached the age of sexual reproduction ( 10-15 years old)? Killing females or males?

Talking about reproduction how is their reproduction going?  Have the concerns vanished or is it still troubling what is happening with their reproduction?  What is the outlook future of the whale with global warming/ change – or is that just ignored to kill more?

The whales being toxic, what information is getting out to the people what they are digesting if eating more whale?  What are the concerns if pregnant, nursing, or ....?

Agree with you #4.

#6. Posted by Whale Hunter on July 17, 2014

We go after the smaller whales, medium size ones, not the big ones. But if we can only find the big ones at the time then we will harvest that one.

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