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Char management plan successful, says Fisheries

Dez Loreen
Northern News Services

Paulatuk (Dec 05/05) - A three-year project for preserving char near Paulatuk is coming to an end this year.

The Paulatuk Char Management Plan is a group effort by the department of Fisheries and Oceans, and the Paulatuk Hunters and Trappers organization.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Bobby Ruben is a project worker who assists Fisheries with its study on the population of char in the area. Ruben is holding a char in spawning colours. - photo courtesy the Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans Canada

The main goals are to ensure healthy stocks of char in the Hornaday River and other locations near Paulatuk to meet subsistence needs of residents.

Erin Hiebert, a biologist with Fisheries and Oceans, is one of the people who oversees the plan.

Hiebert said that by maintaining quotas for fishing, future generations could have a reasonable population to fish.

Ray Ruben works for the Hunters and Trappers committee in Paulatuk and works with biologists and researchers to keep the community informed.

The annual subsistence harvest of char from the Hornaday River averaged 2,483 fish for 10 years before the management plan was put in place.

Since the plan was implemented, the harvest has averaged 1,670 char a year.

Ruben said that the lower annual harvest is better for the community in the long run, and assures a supply of fish for future generations.

"We want them to live off the char for years to come," said Ruben. "Without the char, we're cutting off one of our main food staples."

Ruben also said that fish stocks have improved under the plan. "The sizes and ages of the fish are bigger, which means there are more out there," he said.