*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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or 819-895-2262 ext 224.
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.