Nunavik’s Hudson Strait opens to beluga hunting
But Hudson Strait communities see reduced quotas in 2013
As of Sept. 1 Nunavik beluga hunters can now hunt 71 beluga whales in Hudson Strait — but hunters from the Hudson Strait communities are also being asked to exercise extreme restraint during the annual fall migration through the strait.
That’s because, no matter how many belugas stream by, Kangiqsujuaq, Salluit and Ivujivik each have a quota this year of only five beluga whales — and Quaqtaq has none at all.
The fall hunting season in Hudson Strait opened Sept. 1, the DFO said Aug. 30, with a quota at 71, which is 15 whales higher than 2012’s quota of 56.
The allocation per community provided by the Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board and posted on the DFO website shows that Kuujjuaq can hunt 10 belugas and Puvirnituq 12, while communities along Hudson Strait, which went over their community quotas in 2012 or in 2013, can only hunt five belugas each during the fall hunt — or none at all in the case of Quaqtaq.
The Hudson Strait region will remain open to harvesting beluga until Nov. 30, or until the quota is reached, if that’s earlier, the DFO said.
Last year, the DFO closed the Hudson Strait to beluga hunting Nov. 3 — ahead of the Nov. 30 date spelled out in Nunavik’s beluga management plan — because the overall quota for the fall hunt in the Hudson Strait had been surpassed.
Because of closures and limited quotas in eastern Hudson Bay and Ungava Bay, the plan obliges most Nunavik beluga hunters to travel to Hudson Strait, where there are plenty of belugas, to hunt some of their community quota.
These restrictions covering when and where belugas can be hunted have previously come under fire, with hunters in Inukjuak complaining in 2011 that they invested thousands of dollars into the beluga hunt to travel to Hudson Strait, only to return mostly empty-handed.
Hunters can also go to Long Island and James Bay, for quota of 31 belugas, until Nov. 30.
Ungava Bay and eastern Hudson Bay are now closed to hunting, while Nottingham Island and Salisbury Island, Ottawa Islands, Mucalic Estuary, Nastapoka Estuary and the Little Whale River Estuary remain closed to all beluga hunting.