Notice is provided on November 21st, 2019 that the Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board (NMRWB) and Eeyou Marine Region Wildlife Board (EMRWB) will hold an in-person hearing to consider modifying the Total Allowable Take (TAT) and Non-Quota Limitation (NQL) decisions regarding beluga in the Nunavik Marine Region (NMR), including the Inuit and Joint Zones contained within the Cree / Inuit Offshore Overlapping Interests Area.  The engagement of the EMRWB is required for decisions that apply in this overlapping area of the NMR as stipulated in the Cree / Inuit Offshore Overlapping Agreement. The hearing will focus on the Eastern Hudson Bay (EHB) beluga stock which migrates throughout the Nunavik Marine Region, but will also consider input on all four stocks of beluga found within the NMR including Western Hudson Bay (WHB), James Bay (JB), and Ungava Bay (UB) beluga.

Hearing Dates: January 21st – 23rd, 2020

Meeting Times: Meetings will be held from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 1:30 pm to 5 pm on all days and if necessary additional evening sessions may be held. 15 minute breaks will be held each morning and afternoon.

Location of the Hearing: The hearing will take place in Kuujjuaraapik, Quebec.   

Objective of Hearing: The current management system is set to expire on January 31st, 2020.  During the NMRWB’s regular meeting held in Kuujjuaq the week of August 26th, the Regional Nunavimmi Umajulirijiit Katujjiqatigiinninga (RNUK) and Makivik Corporation reported the increasing level of dissatisfaction with and the fragility of the current management system.  As such, the NMRWB decided that an in-person hearing to reconsider beluga management, specifically the modification of the TAT and NQLs, in Nunavik was necessary.  The current management system is attached for reference. On November 18th, 2019 a working group comprised of Makivik, RNUK, and Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) members presented the NMRWB with a document describing advantages and disadvantages of four possible options for beluga management systems to consider (see “Nunavik Beluga Working Group report to NWRWB“).

Prior to the in-person hearing, the Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board (NMRWB) and Eeyou Marine Region Wildlife Board (EMRWB), hereafter referred to as “The Boards”, are accepting written or oral submissions to the hearing process and additional information.

Party Status and Submissions: The parties to this hearing include the following:

  1. Makivik Corporation
  2. The Regional Nunavimmi Umajulirijiit Katujiqatigininga (RNUK)
  3. The 15 Local Nunavimmi Umajulirijiit Katujiqatigininga (LNUKs)
  4. Any Nunavik Inuk
  5. The Government of Canada
  6. The Government of Nunavut
  7. The Nunatsiavut Government
  8. Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
  9. The Cree Nation Government
  10. The Cree Trappers’ Association

The Boards invite those parties listed above to file written submissions and supporting documents relating to the TAT or NQLs for beluga in the NMR by no later than 5:00 PM on January 8th, 2020. Other organizations not listed may file a request for party status with the NMRWB by December 20th, 2019 for consideration.  In order to be given party status an applicant must demonstrate they may be directly affected by the decision made by the NMRWB. Non-parties may submit information/evidence to the Boards for consideration following the same deadline as party submissions.

The NMRWB will post the Board’s best available written information related to beluga in Nunavik on the Board’s website by December 10th, 2019 and will continue to add submissions and information as they become available. Subject to relevant confidentiality or privacy concerns, all relevant documents will be posted on the NMRWB website (www.nmrwb.ca); these documents can also be obtained by contacting the NMRWB office (see coordinates below).

Information Needs: In order for the Boards to take decisions that include the best available information from Nunavik Inuit knowledge of wildlife and the knowledge gained through scientific research, the Boards are specifically requesting that the submissions address the following information needs as appropriate:

  • Responses and feedback on the proposed management system options including:
    • Rather than the all-Nunavik TAT that is currently in place, having separate area TATs (e.g. Ungava, Hudson etc.) or having a TAT solely for Hudson Bay,
    • The management of closed hunting areas in Hudson Bay (Nastapoka and Little Whale River) and whether they should be opened (fully or partially)
    • Management of the closed hunting area in southern Ungava Bay (includes the Mucalic estuary, False River, and Whale River) and whether they should be opened (fully or partially)
    • Managing the conservation of EHB beluga through Non-Quota Limitations (i.e.: closed seasons, limitations on hunting method, etc.) instead of a TAT/Quota
  • The most recent abundance estimates for beluga stocks inhabiting the NMR
  • Any information which is used to model beluga populations, including ranges of data used as inputs
  • Nunavik Inuit knowledge related to beluga and specially related to Nunavik Inuit approaches to wildlife management
  • Observational data, including beluga sighting information
  • Information or estimates of how many beluga are struck-and-lost while hunting
  • Genetic information, including the updated proportions of EHB present in different seasons and areas of the NMR
  • Genetic results of the biopsy program (including the samples gathered from Mucalic)
  • Community preferences for when (e.g. spring/summer or fall) and where (e.g. close to community or areas of higher beluga numbers) they prefer to conduct beluga harvesting
  • Recommendations on:
    • What the management objective should be for Eastern Hudson Bay beluga (increase, or stability)
    • Whether the TAT should be modified and how it should be expressed
    • The timeframe of the management decisions (e.g. current system is 3-years)
    • Harvest seasons dates
  • Any proposed pilot projects which would reduce harvest pressure on EHB beluga
  • Recommendations on the roles of partner organizations (ie: Umajuit Wardens, RNUK, LNUKs, DFO fisheries officers) in the implementation and regulation of NMRWB beluga decisions

Written submissions must be filed in English and Inuktitut, and optionally in French (documents more than 10 pages in length do not require translation, but must be accompanied by a detailed summary in Inuktitut and English). Translations are not required for supporting documents, although translated summaries are encouraged. The requirement for translation does not apply to individual Nunavik Inuit. Submissions may be sent electronically (preferred) or by fax to the following coordinates:

Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board
info@nmrwb.ca

P.O. Box 433, Inukjuak (QC) J0M 1M0
Phone: (819) 254-8667
Fax: (819) 254-8816

Receipt of all submissions will be acknowledged. Please confirm with the NMRWB by email or phone that a complete and legible copy of fax transmissions has been received.

Participation at the in-person hearing: Although the hearing is open to the public, the NMRWB reserves the right to hold parts of the hearing in camera. All parties to the hearing will be given a fair chance to present their views; accordingly, they should be prepared to field questions from the NMRWB and/or other participants. Members of the public in attendance will be given a reasonable opportunity to make statements and ask questions of the witnesses or parties.

Following the public hearing, the NMRWB, and EMRWB for the Joint Zone, will reconsider the TAT and NQLs of beluga in the NMR.

Additional Information: If you require further information concerning the hearing or filing of submissions, to obtain other relevant documents, or to learn about the NMRWB’s hearing procedures please contact the Board at the above coordinates, or visit the “Documents” section here: https://www.eeyoumarineregion.ca/wildlife-board/

Documents

Public Hearing Notice
Nunavik Beluga Working Group report to NMRWB combined
NMRWB Public Hearing Guidlines Nov 2019