Naskapi Nation calls for closure of sport hunting for the protection of Leaf River Caribou herd

KAWAWACHIKAMACH, QC, Dec. 20, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - The Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach, in support of the Cree and  Inuit parties to the  Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Coordinating Committee (HFTCC) calls for a complete termination of caribou sport hunting to protect  the Leaf River Caribou herd.  On December 7, 2016, the HFTCC, on which sit the Cree, Inuit, Naskapi and Quebec representatives adopted a resolution recommending to Mr. Luc Blanchette, Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, the closure of sport hunting for the Leaf River Caribou herd with serious concerns for its rapidly decreasing populations. The complete closure of the sport hunt as of 2017 is necessary to protect the priority of harvest in favor of the Natives parties and the guaranteed level of harvest.

"In order to preserve our traditional ways and ensure our responsibility to our territory, it is necessary to reduce the pressure on the herd as much as possible, and for this, all efforts are required to minimize the harvest on the herd in order to increase its capacity to recover," says Noah Swappie, Chief of the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach. "As provided for in section 24.6 of the JBNQA the priority of harvest must apply, consequently the sports hunt must be eliminated," he added.

The recent population census conducted this past summer (august 2016) revealed that the population of the Leaf River Herd was estimated at 199 000 (± 8.1%) caribou. With the additional information received from the fall classification, the Ministère des Forêts et des Parcs (MFFP) suggest that the Leaf River herd was estimated at 181 000 caribous in November of this year.  This is a drastic drop since the last population census which was conducted in 2011 estimated the herd at 430 000 caribou.

Between 2003 and 2009, the sport hunt was taking more than 15 000 caribous every year with a peak of 17 634 in 2006. Since that time, the Naskapi Nation has shown great difficulty to hunt for subsistence. The Naskapi Nation has a guaranteed level of harvest of 1030 caribous and for more than 15 years the Naskapi have not reached that level.

"The Minister and the HFTCC has the obligation to implement the principal of priority and respect the negotiated Guaranteed Level of Harvest. And failure to respect this is a clear breach to the James Bay Northern Quebec as much as the Northeastern Quebec Agreement," says Chief Swappie.
The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement and the Northeastern Quebec agreement state that the responsible governments shall apply the principle of priority of Native harvesting. At this time, the Leaf River herd is already being over harvest and continuation of the sport hunt will only accelerate the diminution of that caribou population, on which more than 25 000 Aboriginal and Inuit people depend on for food security. The Naskapi Nation reminds the Quebec Government of its responsibility to have good practice in managing the Leaf River Caribou herd in order to ensure recovery and sustainability.

 

SOURCE Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach

For further information: INFORMATION: Natalie D'Astous, Advisor to the Naskapi, Nation of Kawawachikamach, Biologiste Conseil, 514-949-1108, natalie@natdastous.com ; SOURCE: Marie Celine Charron, NATIONAL Public Relations, 514-250-7353, MCCharron@national.ca

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Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach

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