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Limited caribou harvest allowed on Baffin Island

26 August 2015 

News Release

For Immediate Release

Limited caribou harvest allowed on Baffin Island

IQALUIT, Nunavut (August 26, 2015) – Minister of Environment Johnny Mike has accepted the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board’s (NWMB) recommendation that a total allowable harvest (TAH) of 250 male caribou should be set for the Baffin Island caribou subpopulation, effective immediately. The Qikiqtaaluk Wildlife Board (QWB) has the responsibility for determining the allocation of the TAH among the community hunter and trapper organizations for this harvest.

"The densities of caribou in North Baffin are extremely low, and any harvest there may create conservation concerns," said Minister Johnny Mike. "In order to mitigate the risk of conservation concerns from harvesting in North Baffin, we are strongly suggesting to the QWB that they allocate the harvest so that most, if not all, harvesting takes place in Central and South Baffin."

This fall, the Department of Environment will conduct a composition survey of Baffin Island caribou to provide even more updated information on the female to calf ratio, which is an indicator of overall productivity. The results of the survey are expected to be available by late fall. At that time, all parties will have an opportunity to thoroughly review and consider whether the TAH of male caribou continues to be acceptable, and if other management actions may be necessary to maintain a healthy and sustainable growth of the Baffin caribou population.

"Caribou are an essential food source for many families and decisions like this must maintain a fine balance between our peoples’ needs and wildlife protection, with continued vigilance in monitoring and re-evaluation of the situation," said Minister Mike.

The NWMB’s decision is based on extensive consultation with stakeholders and co-management partners, taking into account both scientific information and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit. A public hearing on this issue was held in Iqaluit in March 2015.

The moratorium came into effect on January 1, 2015, in response to concerns raised by hunters on Baffin Island that caribou numbers appeared to be very low. This decision will be reviewed after new surveys are carried out this October.

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Media Contact:

Tana Silverland

Manager of Communications, Education and Outreach

Department of Environment

867-975-7761

tsilverland@gov.nu.ca