Federal government announces increased science in the Arctic – stock assessment positions dedicated to Arctic Fisheries Research

IQALUIT, Nunavut (October 15, 2007) –

“We are very pleased with Minister Hearn’s announcement of October 15, 2007 that it will increase its science in the Arctic – Stock assessment positions dedicated to Arctic fisheries research.  We thank Minister Hearn for making such a positive decision, one that clearly meets the needs of the north. Baffin Fisheries Coalition (BFC), as a leader in the development of the northern fisheries have, for many years been advocating the need for additional, dedicated scientific staff in the north”, states Ben Kovic, President of Baffin Fisheries Coalition (BFC).

Jacopie Maniapik, BFC Chairman states, “Nunavut today has a  very viable turbot fishery in the Davis Straits and Baffin Bay areas, and this would not have happened if the stakeholders in Nunavut had not worked collectively with DFO to ensure that good stock assessment work was done in Nunavut’s adjacent waters. We have for thousands of years survived in the Arctic, by harvesting the fish and wildlife that exist in our part of the world. We are committed to ensuring that our fishery is environmentally and economically viable, and only through the much needed stock assessments can we ensure that this happens.

“Today, we have two (2) commercial fisheries in Nunavut’s adjacent waters: turbot and shrimp and a growing fresh water fishery in the form of wild arctic char. However, we are convinced that with the added staff positions dedicated to Arctic fishery research, and further stock assessment and research that it is only a matter of time before we have more commercial species to harvest. With increased commercial species will come increased benefits to the Inuit of Nunavut” states Johnny Mike, Chairman of Niqitaq Fisheries, a wholly owned subsidiary of BFC, that owns and operates fishing vessels in the north.

Stock assessment in the north has lagged behind that of our southern neighbours. It is only reasonable that fish and wildlife in the north should be managed based on the best scientific knowledge available. We look forward to seeing these staff positions located in Nunavut.