OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jun 14, 2013) - The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans; the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development; and the Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of Environment today issued the following joint statement:
"We are pleased to confirm that the majority of Inuit hunters will be able to continue to sell narwhal by-products resulting from their subsistence hunt on international markets.
"We recognize the importance of the traditional narwhal hunt to many Nunavut communities.
"This decision was made based on the best available scientific information and in consultation with partners including Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the Government of Nunavut, the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, hunters and trappers organizations, and northern communities to ensure the long-term sustainability of the traditional narwhal hunt.
"We will continue building collaborative relationships to reflect our common objective - a sustainable narwhal harvest that will maximize the benefits to Inuit harvesters today and into the future."
The sustainability of the Canadian narwhal harvest was evaluated by Fisheries and Ocean Canada's Scientific Authority for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This evaluation considered the Narwhal Integrated Fisheries Management Plan, available scientific information, and published Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge. It concluded that the planned harvest in 2013 will not be detrimental to the species' survival in the wild.
In particular, by-products of narwhal from the summering stocks of Somerset Island, Admiralty Inlet, Eclipse Sound, East Baffin Island, and Northern Hudson Bay can be exported again this year.
A broad scientific survey in the areas of Parry Channel, Jones Sound, and Smith Sound, which includes solely the community of Grise Fiord, will be conducted this summer. This will provide comprehensive advice on abundance, distribution and sustainable harvest levels of Canadian narwhal populations for the future as a decision could not be reached this year due to lack of scientific information.
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