Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut August 20, 2012 - 2:24 pm

Nunavut Wildlife Management Board to recommend needs levels for marine mammal harvests

"NTI believes Inuit maintain the right to the entire total allowable harvest of beluga, narwhal and walrus"

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
A 2006 evaluation of walrus by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife found walrus had moved a step closer to extinction and ranked them
A 2006 evaluation of walrus by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife found walrus had moved a step closer to extinction and ranked them "of special concern." Now the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board plans to set Inuit needs levels for walrus as well as beluga and narwhal. (FILE PHOTO)

Next month the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board plans to hold a hearing in Iqaluit to establish the basic needs levels for Inuit in the harvesting of beluga, narwhal and walrus, as required by Article 5.6.25 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.

The NLCA established that Inuit have the right of first access to harvest wildlife when there is a total allowable harvest established for that population of wildlife.

The right of first access to a population of wildlife is determined when:

• the NWMB establishes a total allowable harvest level for a population and sets a basic needs level by calculating harvest levels based on the Nunavut Wildlife Harvest Study; or,

• the NWMB presumes that Inuit need all of the total allowable harvest.

Following the public hearing Sept. 11 to Sept. 12 in Iqaluit,  the NWMB will determine how to establish the right of first access and the needs levels of Inuit for beluga, narwhal and walrus.

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. is encouraging Inuit to contact their hunters and trappers organizations and regional wildlife organizations to discuss their use of beluga, narwhal and walrus.

NTI’s vice-president James Eetoolook called the implementation of this article in the NLCA long overdue.

“During NLCA negotiations, Inuit and government could not determine how the basic needs levels for beluga, narwhal and walrus should be established. It was agreed that the NWMB would determine this at a later date. Inuit have been very patient, but it is now time to sign off on this article. NTI believes that Inuit maintain the right to the entire total allowable harvest of beluga, narwhal and walrus,” Eetoolook said in an Aug. 20 NTI news release.

Eetoolook urged Inuit to make their organizations fully aware of the social, cultural and economic importance of beluga, narwhal and walrus to Inuit.

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