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New regulations come into effect
Territory looks to uphold Inuit harvesting rights in revised Wildlife Act

Stewart Burnett
Northern News Services
Monday, July 13, 2015

Changes to the Wildlife Act came into effect at the start of this month after 10 years in process.

The new regulations deal with the wildlife management system in Nunavut, including new reporting requirements for wildlife-related businesses, licence requirements for companies involved in wildlife viewing or filmmaking and changes in fees for those who require licences.

"The Nunavut Wildlife Act was brought into force in 2005, but the old regulations from the NWT Wildlife Act were left in place," said Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. vice president James Eetoolook.

"The Nunavut Wildlife Act acknowledges the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement's management system and rights of Inuit. The NWT Wildlife Regulations did not. With the implementation of the Nunavut wildlife regulations, this deficiency has been addressed."

The Nunavut wildlife regulations do not infringe on Inuit harvesting rights identified in the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, he added.

Eetoolook stated that an example of an Inuit right not previously recognized in the old regulations was "the right of disposition of harvest."

Environment Minister Johnny Mike, in a news release, stated that the regulations' purpose is to uphold Inuit harvesting rights.

"These new regulations are largely deregulatory and will remove a number of unnecessary provisions left over from the previous Wildlife Act adopted from the Northwest Territories. Today marks an important milestone for wildlife management in Nunavut," he stated.

Nunavut's Wildlife Act was approved by the legislative assembly in 2003 and brought into force in 2005.

The new regulations were developed through a working group consisting of the Government of Nunavut, NTI, the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board and three regional wildlife organizations.

Public hearings in 2006 and 2007 informed the development of the new regulations.

There are no new conservation areas being established and no new restrictions that apply to existing areas.

Game harvesting and possession limits for non-Inuit hunters will stay the same.

The old regulations had closed seasons for harvesting of most wildlife species for non-Inuit and some wildlife species for Inuit.

The new regulations remove closed seasons for almost all species for all harvesters.

The only exception is the Arctic wolf, which will have an open season from Sept. 1 to May 31.

As many offences as possible will now be "ticketable" offences, the GN added, justifying that dealing with these issues through tickets instead of the courts is much easier and more cost effective.

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