The Innu Nation say they will continue to limit the harvest of caribou by Innu Nation members and will continue to work collaboratively with Aboriginal communities throughout the region to ensure the survival of the George River Caribou Herd for future generations.
“We are demonstrating our continued commitment to caribou conservation in ways that respect our culture and are consistent with our rights,” stated Grand Chief Prote Poker in an Innu Nation press release this afternoon.
“The Innu Nation guidelines restrict the harvest to 150 male animals to each of both Sheshatshiu and Natuashish and only in the hunting zone known as George River Labrador Caribou Hunting Zone,” the release continued.
“The harvest will be allocated on a priority basis to elders and for communal mukushan feasts. No harvesting will take place during the period May - August. These limitations have been in place since February 2013.”
The press release stated periodic declines in the George River Caribou Herd occur every 40-60 years and biologists and Innu elders are in agreement that hunting is not the cause of the herd’s decline, and that the harvest of male caribou will not adversely affect the recovery of the herd.
“Innu Nation is working with other Aboriginal groups in both Quebec and Labrador to bring forward community-based caribou conservation plans that limit harvesting in ways that respect Aboriginal rights, while addressing the full range of issues—including habitat loss and industrial activity—that are known to have negative impacts on caribou,” said the release.
“Our work with other Innu, Inuit and Cree communities in Quebec who also harvest from the George River Herd is an ongoing success,” said Grand Chief Poker. “The solutions to ensure the survival of the George River Herd will come from the people who are most connected to the caribou.”
Innu Nation Guardians will closely monitor the Innu harvest and share information with other Aboriginal communities concerning the status of the herd.