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Archived - Agreement reached to maintain effective management of Southern Hudson Bay polar bears

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Minister Aglukkaq convened meeting with governments, aboriginal groups to discuss polar bear population

October 10, 2014 – Ottawa, Ontario – Environment Canada

Recently, the Government of Canada facilitated a meeting with provincial and territorial governments, as well as hunters, Inuit, Cree organizations, and Wildlife Management Boards, that led to a new agreement to maintain effective management and conservation of the Southern Hudson Bay polar bear subpopulation.

The Government of Canada and the Government of Nunavut are pleased that the user groups were able to come to a consensus on voluntary limits on the annual harvest of Southern Hudson Bay polar bears, in order to ensure sustainability of the subpopulation.

Minister Leona Aglukkaq met with participants to discuss the essential role that the polar bear hunt plays in preserving the traditional way of life in Aboriginal communities that depend on subsistence hunting. Through these discussions, participants agreed on the importance of improving how both aboriginal traditional knowledge and science are brought together to support decision-making for the management and conservation of polar bears.

Quick Facts

  • This agreement takes effect in November 2014 and continues until November 2016. The agreement is applicable to the take of polar bears in accordance with the respective hunting seasons of each jurisdiction.
  • In November 2016, the relevant parties will meet to review this agreement.
  • Canada has a solid management system in place for the polar bear that is founded on the land claims agreements and engagement with Inuit communities. The system considers both science and Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge, thus ensuring a high level of support from all stakeholders, and, importantly, from people living among polar bears in the north.
  • Our careful management and strong commitment to monitoring are reflected in the status of Canadian polar bear subpopulations.
  • Over the past five years, governments and other organizations in Canada have collectively invested over $9 million in polar bear monitoring.

Quotes

“I would like to commend all participants at the recent meetings, who worked together on developing this important agreement. It was a pleasure to bring together essential stakeholders to discuss the role the polar bear hunt plays in preserving the traditional way of life in Aboriginal communities. To build on this, our Government will continue to work with aboriginal organizations on applying traditional knowledge and science to support our world class management of this species and to improve our decision-making processes.”

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council

“Nunavut supports this consensus decision by those who harvest from the Southern Hudson Bay polar bear subpopulation. This agreement is an important step in creating a sustainable long-term management plan that will ensure a healthy population of bears and a sustainable harvest for Inuit and Cree. It is important that all jurisdictions continue to work together to effectively manage our shared stewardship of the Southern Hudson Bay polar bear subpopulation.”

The Honourable Johnny Mike, Minister of Environment, Government of Nunavut

“All animals including polar bears and their environment are important, respected and vital to Inuit. While we still need to work towards better recognition and use of Inuit knowledge, this voluntary agreement reflects our commitment to conservation and co-management.”

James Eetoolook, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.

“The world needs to listen to people who live amongst these polar bears because we have much to offer in terms of oral history. Inuit traditional knowledge has always instructed us never to waste and always harvest sustainably. We look forward to working with different levels of government on continuing to improve the use of traditional knowledge in the conservation and management of polar bears across Canada. When we incorporate traditional knowledge with science, management decisions can only be more effective.”

Adamie Delisle Alaku, Executive Vice President, Makivik Corporation

Click here (PDF; 58.8 KB) to view this news release in Inuktitut. 

Contacts

Ted Laking
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of the Environment
819-997-1441

Eric Blair
Policy and Communications Officer
Department of Environment
Government of Nunavut
867-975-7721
eblair@gov.nu.ca

Media Relations
Environment Canada
819-934-8008

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