"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The terrestrial codfish

From a wire-service story which moved in February 1992:
Labrador native groups are accusing the Quebec and Newfoundland governments of dragging their feet as one of the world's largest caribou herds heads into a steep decline.

"Nobody wants to be accountable, and meanwhile the finest herd in the world is disappearing," says Peter Penashue, president of the Innu Nation.

"They're saying it's because of natural causes, but what if it's not?"

The George River caribou herd, which ranges across northern Labrador and Quebec, has declined by 20% since it reached a peak of more than 600,000 animals in the winter of 1987-88, says Stuart Luttich, a Newfoundland government biologist.

There is only informal contact among biologists about the state of the herd, he said.

"There's better communication between Alaska and the Yukon [about boundary-straddling migratory caribou herds] than between Newfoundland and Quebec," Luttich said.

"The informal contacts are operating on a very, very flimsy basis."

The Newfoundland government places the blame on Quebec, saying that province walked away from discussions two years ago and has not returned to the table since.

"We have never said we were not willing to pursue joint management," says Jim Hancock, directed of wildlife management with the Newfoundland government.

"It's in the best interest of both provinces to have a common plan, but there doesn't seem to be any commitment on the part of Quebec."

Michel Crête, a Quebec government caribou specialist, confirmed his government is not interested in co-operation with Newfoundland over the George River herd.

"There's no urgent need," he said. "The numbers are sufficient on both sides."


A regional wildlife director for northern Quebec cast doubts on warnings that the caribou population there is in trouble. Claude Despatie says Quebec native hunters have not reported difficulties filling their quotas.


Luttich says that if Newfoundland and Quebec had set up a joint committee to oversee the herd — as natives have asked — the population may not have dropped so significantly.

Native leaders say they remain powerless to do something about the slide in population as long as the political bickering continues.

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At 10:34 AM, November 11, 2010 , Blogger Ursula said...

Maybe the Caribou have seen the writing on the wall !


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