Kuujjuaq, Quebec-November 15, 2012 – On November 8, officials of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) questioned Nunavik Inuit hunters from Kangirsuk, Tasiujaq and Aupaluk following a beluga hunt that took place in the vicinity of Quaqtaq. The hunters were prohibited from bringing the meat and mataaq from seven harvested whales back to their communities, however it was distributed in Quaqtaq pursuant to consultation with mayoress Eva Deer.
Makivvik finds the situation worrisome as it still gathers facts about the events.
Jobie Tukkiapik, the President of the Makivvik, mentioned: «What happened is disturbing. Makivvik will definitely follow up on this issue and look at how things were handled by DFO».
Although Makivvik recognizes that the Nunavik Inuit are party to the Beluga Management Plan through the Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board, there is obviously a need to improve on the way the Plan is implemented and communicated to the communities and the hunters. Mr.Tukkiapik indicated that Makivvik insists that Nunavik hunters and fishers respect the laws and quotas as well as abide by all decisions of the Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board (NMRWB) as accepted by DFO, the responsible ministry. At the same time he says that Makivvik views the whole Beluga Quota System in Nunavik as a highly sensitive one for Nunavik Inuit harvesters. He says that he expects DFO to show some sensitivity when enforcing the quota system given that it was originally conceived to ensure a sustainable harvest while concurrently providing adequate distribution of resources to all Inuit communities in Nunavik.
In addition, Tukkiapik also expressed concern over the apparent lack of proper communication between the regional and local HFTAs and the community harvesters. He said that it is the mandate of the HFTAs to effectively communicate the decisions of the NMRWB and DFO to these harvesters to ensure proper compliance.
In conclusion Jobie Tukkiapik also mentioned: «Nunavik Inuit have hunted belugas without restriction for thousands of years as a way of living and feeding the communities. One would expect that any Beluga Management Plan will require continuous adjustments and good faith in order for it to work for everyone in a sustainable way.»
For further information, please contact Stas Olpinski at 1-800-361-7052.
The Makivvik is a not‐for‐profit corporation created pursuant to the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement(1975) and mandated to represent the social, political and economic interests and well-being of Nunavik . Makivvik promotes the preservation of Inuit culture and language as well as the health, welfare, relief of poverty and education of Inuit in Nunavik communities. Makivvik is a signatory of the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (NILCA).