Migratory Caribou Herds in Northern Québec
Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment, Wildlife and Parks announces measures governing hunting for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 seasons
Official Statement issued by The Government of Quebec
QUÉBEC CITY, April 26, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment, Wildlife and Parks, Yves-François Blanchet has announced the measures governing migratory caribou hunting that he intends to implement in Northern Québec for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 seasons.
Biological data collected in 2012 indicate that the rivière George herd has continued to decrease and now appears to number roughly 25 000 animals, compared with 74 000 in 2010. This situation leads the Ministry to maintain the closure of sport hunting over the next two years in zones 23 east, 23 south and 24. These zones will remain closed to hunting as long as the biological data collected and indicators do not show that the herd is recovering.
Moreover, in light of new biological analyses, including those conducted in 2012, the rivière aux Feuilles herd appears to be fairly stable. "Because the stability is fairly recent, we must remain cautious. All involved stakeholders must apply vigilance" said the minister. Accordingly, as a precautionary measure, procedures governing hunting from the previous season will be modified in respect of the rivière aux Feuilles herd. The following measures will be in force for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 hunting seasons.
For Zones 22A, 22B and 23 West, to provide a transitional year, the provincial harvesting limit of two caribou per hunter will be maintained for the 2013-2014 season, and will then drop to one caribou her hunter, per year, starting in the 2014-2015 season.
Contrary to previous years, hunters and outfitters know as of now the hunting rules that will apply for the next two seasons.
In addition, in order to exercise strict control over caribou hunting and limit the harvest to current levels, the number of licences issued for sport hunting for the 2013-2014 will be reduced and allocated as follows:
· 500 licences allocated by random draw with no obligation to use the services of an outfitter.
· 1 722 licences offered via outfitters.
Zone 23 West:
· 804 licences offered via outfitters.
For the 2014-2015 season, licences will be allocated as follows:
· 500 licences allocated by random draw, with no obligation to use the services of an outfitter.
· 3 053 licences offered via outfitters.
Zone 23 West:
· 1 998 licences offered via outfitters.
The following rules will be in force for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 seasons:
Zones 22A and 22B:
· Hunting season will begin on December 1 and end on January 30.
Zone 23 West:
· Hunting season will begin on August 17 and end on October 7;
· Winter hunting season will be closed.
Zones 22A, 22B and 23 West:
· All individuals (males, females, fawns) in the caribou population may be harvested.
In addition to these measures, the Cree, Inuit and Naskapi nations reiterate their commitment to monitor their harvesting and encourage communities to adopt objectives and management measures concerning such harvesting. This contribution is essential to the collection of overall information that ensures sound management of the herds in the coming years.
The elaboration of the migratory caribou management plans is continuing with the concerned partners, including the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for the Rivière George herd.
The Ministry will pursue its research and monitoring of the migratory caribou herds in order to better understand the causes of their decline.
"We are all concerned about the situation of the two migratory caribou herds in Northern Québec and I am confident that the proposed measures will have a positive impact on the species. The caribou is an integral part of the culture of certain Aboriginal communities. It contributes to economic activity in the region and also symbolizes Québec's wildlife heritage. For all of these reasons, all involved stakeholders, including the government, have the responsibility to ensure its long-term survival," Minister Blanchet concluded.