Quebec Takes Steps to Protect George River Caribou Herd
Mr. Serge Simard, Minister for Natural Resources and Wildlife, has announced a series of precautionary measures that he intends to implement for the George River migratory caribou herd during the forthcoming hunting season.
The survey performed in the summer of 2010 confirmed that the herd now comprises only 74,000 animals, and that its numbers are declining. "If we are to manage the species responsibly, the current situation demands that some decisions be made and concrete steps taken," said Minister Simard.
The following measures will therefore be applied to the George River herd for the 2011-2012 hunting season:
- A 50% reduction in the number of permits sold by outfitters (using 2009 as the reference year).
- Subdivision, along the 67th Meridian, of Zone 23 into a Western section and an Eastern section, so that the George River and Leaf River herds can be managed separately.
- Closure of sport hunting in the Southern section of Zone 23.
- Limitation of sport hunting in Zone 24 to the activities of the zone's existing outfitters only.
- Reduction of the current hunting period (August 1 to October 31) to a period covering August 15 to October 2, 2011 in the Eastern section of Zone 23.
- Closure of sport hunting in 2012-2013 in the Eastern section of Zone 23 and in Zone 24, subject to the biological information collected in 2011-2012.
Leaf River herd
In the case of the Leaf River herd, Mr. Simard said the hunting periods announced in the press release of February 25, 2011, will be adjusted for operational reasons in order to facilitate the transportation and reception of hunters and to offer a better access to hunting activities. In Zones 22A and 22B, the period will cover November 15, 2011, to January 15, 2012. In the Western section of Zone 23, the period will cover August 15, 2011, to October 2 2011.
"The migratory caribou herds in Northern Québec will not be able to grow without the collaboration of everyone concerned," said Minister Simard. "The survival of the species, which is of importance to the entire population of Québec, can only be ensured by combining our efforts and implementing measures that have a significant impact on sport hunting harvests. All these measures will be reviewed in 2012-2013, in light of biological and harvest-related data."
The decisions that have been made were based on the need to achieve a balance between the survival of the resource, the Aboriginal lifestyle, and the expectations of hunters and the outfitting industry.