*FINAL CALL FOR COMMENTS*

The Eeyou Marine Region Wildlife Board (EMRWB) has completed consultations with the Cree communities to obtain feedback regarding research priorities within the Eeyou Marine Region.

The Eeyou Marine Region Wildlife Board (EMRWB), a co-management body created under the Offshore Agreement, solicits the opinion of the Cree of Eeyou Istchee regarding wildlife research priorities. The EMRWB has an initial fund of $ 5 million to conduct research activities to support its mandate.  Starting its operation in February 2013, as its first step, the EMRWB undertook the necessary actions to invest the fund in order to generate monetary interest which will be used to finance future research projects.  The research fund has now generated more than $ 1 million in interest.

EMRWB Mandate

Under the provisions of the Eeyou Marine Region Land Claims Agreement, the Wildlife Board is the main instrument of wildlife management in the Eeyou Marine Region and the main regulator of access to wildlife. The Board is composed of seven (7) members appointed by the Grand Council of the Cree of Eeyou Istchee, the Governments of Canada and of Nunavut. In addition, the Board provides funding to the Cree Trappers’ Association (CTA) for the delivery of specific EMR functions.

Research Program Objective

As a research program objective, the EMRWB opted for a 5-year comprehensive research plan based on regional priorities. The plan is articulated around the following elements :

  • a short list of priority projects and goals;
  • a multi-year funding budget allowance;
  • a partnership to match funding and expertise;
  • the conclusion of funding agreements.

The EMRWB adopted the following definition of research :

‘Studies and works designed to advance scientific and traditional knowledge related to the wildlife, its habitat, the factors affecting wildlife, as well as the harvesting activities in the coastal and offshore areas of the EMR’

Research Prioritization Process

In order to assess future research priorities, the Board held a “Symposium on Science and Traditional Knowledge” in March 2014. A year later, a broad consultation with major stakeholders has been carried out with the goal of pinpointing future research topics and set the basis of potential funding partnership. A preliminary screening of the various research proposals has been achieved.

Following a process of prioritization of research topics with stakeholders, the EMRWB has selected two major lines of research in the coming years, namely:

Priority # 1 : Eelgrass bed habitats in James Bay

Scope : Eelgrass mapping  and  productivity assessment, potential for bed restoration, relationship with waterfowl (Canada goose and Brant goose), in the context of cumulative impacts and climate change.

Priority # 2 : Local  Fisheries

Scope : Stocks assessment of the fish populations, harvesting effort evaluation and mapping, development of long-term management plan in the context of cumulative impacts and climate change.

EMR Community Consultations – Final Call for Comments

To validate the research priorities, a consultation tour of the five (5) Cree coastal communities occurred between 2016 and 2018. Before deciding definitively on its research priorities, the Board  offers a last opportunity to the Cree of Eeyou Istchee to share their comments  and opinions no later than July 15, 2019, by contacting Félix Boulanger (Wildlife Management Biologist) at: fboulanger@eeyoumarineregion.ca or 819-895-2262 ext 224.

Next Steps

Once the period for comments is closed, the results of the community research consultations will be published and distributed. The EMRWB will then establish a Research Sub-Committee that will be responsible for developing the policies and protocols necessary for the administration of the Research Funding, and screening and selection of research projects.

The Eeyou Marine Region Land Claims Agreement  is an agreement between the Crees of Eeyou Istchee and the Governments of Canada and of Nunavut  which covers the Quebec  offshore area in the eastern James Bay and southern Hudson Bay. The “Offshore Agreement”, is the result of 10 years of negotiations on the rights and obligations of the Crees in the Eeyou Marine Region (EMR).

The Agreement settles the land and resource rights, including those of Canada and the Crees, over the islands and the marine waters in this area

This Treaty acknowledges Cree ownership to 80% of the offshore land mass in the eastern half of James Bay and lower Hudson Bay. Canada retains ownership over the marine waters and ownership of the seabed. As part of the Agreement, the Crees and the Government of Canada also agree to the regulation of land use, hunting, fishing, trapping, and development in the EMR.

For this purpose, the Offshore Agreement created three (3) co-management bodies with Cree representation.

The Eeyou Marine Region Wildlife Board (EMRWB) mandate is to manage and regulate wildlife and harvesting. The Crees have the exclusive right to harvest certain species and they have the right to harvest any species of wildlife in the Eeyou Marine Region to fulfill their economic, social and cultural needs.
The Eeyou Marine Region Planning Commission (EMRPC) mandate is to develop planning policies, priorities and objectives for the Eeyou Marine Region, including the development and implementation of a land use plan.
The Eeyou Marine Region Impact Review Board (EMRIRB )has the primary responsibility to assess the environmental and socio-economic impacts of proposed development projects within the Eeyou Marine Region.

EMRWB Members and Staff

Members

Gordon Blackned, Chairperson
Aurélie Bourbeau-Lemieux (GCCEI)
Robbie Tapiatic (GCCEI)
Fred Tomatuk (GCCEI)
Piita Kattuk (Nunavut)
G.Daniel Caron (Canada)
Vacant (Canada)

Staff

Angela Coxon, Director
Félix Boulanger, Wildlife Management Biologist
Priscillia Wesley, Administrative Assistant
Susan Esau, Accounting Administrator

To provide comments :

Eeyou Marine Region Wildlife Board
P.O. Box 580
4, Chief Isaiah Salt Road, Waskaganish
Quebec,  J0M 1R0

819-895-2262 ext 224

Email : fboulanger@eeyoumarineregion.ca