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Bear quota increase welcome

Brent Reaney
Northern News Services

Whale Cove (Jan 19/05) - Whale Cove Hunters and Trappers manager Agatha Ekwalak says she is happy with the two extra tags her community will receive as part of a territory-wide polar bear quota increase.

"I think that's a good number for a small community like this," she says.

The community of about 300 people now has 14 tags to distribute as it sees fit. With complete scientific research unavailable, the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board says Inuit traditional knowledge was used in approving a 115-tag increase which brings the territory-wide quota to 518 bears.

Kivalliq communities will see 17 of those tags.

Any Whale Cove resident who spots a bear is usually given a tag, up to a maximum of one per household, Ekwalak says. As six of the community's tags have already been used, Ekwalak is happy to hear that the increase will bring the number left up to eight.

The quota numbers are part of the polar bear memoranda of understanding. Last signed in 1996, the agreements outline the regulations for hunting polar bears in each of Nunavut's 12 bear populations.

Other Kivalliq communities are also seeing quota increases. Repulse Bay and Chesterfield Inlet, through harvesting in two separate populations, now have three extra tags.

Baker Lake will get one, while Arviat, Rankin Inlet, and Coral Harbour each get two extra tags. According to a letter written by Environment Minister Olayuk Akesuk to HTAs across the territory, the tags should have been in the mail by Jan. 14.