Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears: historical context & recent actions. Dr. Rachel Vallender Canadian Wildlife Service Environment Canada

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1 Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears: historical context & recent actions Dr. Rachel Vallender Canadian Wildlife Service Environment Canada Page 1 March 13, 2013

2 Historical context 1965 First Scientific Meeting on Polar Bear Delegates from US, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and the Soviet Union concerned about lack of knowledge for effective management. The IUCN was asked to convene a meeting to distribute information and organize a meeting on polar bears. The IUCN established the Polar Bear Specialist Group under their Survival Service Commission. The IUCN/SSC PBSG first met in The idea of an international agreement for polar bear was discussed in 1968 and pursued at PBSG meetings in 1970 and Page 2 March 13, 2013

3 Context cont d. IUCN asked Norway to host the meetings for preparations of the Agreement. Oslo, November 13-15, 1973 Delegations from the US, Canada, Denmark, Norway and the Soviet Union. IUCN and it s PBSG (as Secretariat). The Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears was negotiated and finalized. Canada, Norway and the Soviet Union ratified the Agreement and it entered into force 26 May Agreement has since been ratified by the US and Denmark. Page 3 March 13, 2013

4 The Agreement Not open to signatures by other parties. Originally in-force for five years. Norway hosted a Consultative meeting in 1981, and the Agreement has been in-force ever since. Indigenous peoples of the Arctic are considered bona fide partners in the Agreement. Traditional Ecological Knowledge is considered as relevant and important as scientific information. In 2007 (USA) and 2009 (Norway) it was decided that the Parties would meet biennially. Last meeting was held in Canada, October Next meeting Moscow, Russia in 2013 Page 4 March 13, 2013

5 The Agreement Includes: Prohibitions on the take (hunting, killing, capturing) of polar bear. A legal subsistence harvest takes place in Canada, Greenland and the United States in accordance with traditional rights of Aboriginal peoples. Take may be carried out: for scientific purposes for conservation purposes to prevent disturbance to other living resources by local peoples using traditional methods in exercise of traditional rights Prohibitions on the use of large motorized vehicles for the purpose of taking polar bears. Each Party shall enact and enforce legislation giving effect to the Agreement. Parties shall conduct research programmes on polar bears. Parties shall continue to consult with one another. Page 5 March 13, 2013

6 Recent Actions: 2009 meeting outcomes National Action Plans. Russia (2010) & Canada (2011) Norway, US and Greenland in progress. Development of a Table of Contents for a Circumpolar Action Plan. Canada and Norway lead intersessional work Table of Contents presented at the 2011 meeting PBHIMS initiative. The Parties agreed to exchange experiences with management of bear/human interactions. Norway and the US co-lead the initiative. Presentation at the 2011 Range States meeting. Agreement to form a group to keep developing the program. Page 6 March 13, 2013

7 Circumpolar Action Plan (CAP) Table of Contents modified, and approved, at the 2011 Range States meeting. CA & US have been co-leading development of the plan since October Draft plan expected by 2013 Range States meeting. National approvals: Final plan expected: Range States 2015 meeting. Page 7 March 13, 2013

8 Circumpolar Action Plan (CAP) The plan will: need to include an adaptive management approach given the significant change occurring in the Arctic; ensure that according to the principle of subsidiarity, actions will be taken at the appropriate level; will strive to balance conservation of polar bear with the needs of communities living within the range of the species; consider the best available information including western science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge; ensure the engagement of Indigenous peoples domestically as well as internationally; use the precautionary principle. Page 8 March 13, 2013

9 Circumpolar Action Plan (CAP) A number of priority areas for range-wide collaboration have been identified. These include: prevention and management of human-bear conflicts development of strategies to minimize impacts of human activities (e.g. mining, shipping, oil and gas activities, tourism) engage the general public and communities in outreach activities that facilitate communication development of best management practices for, among other things, harvest management. Page 9 March 13, 2013

10 PBHIMS & the CAP Objectives: Create a dynamic, comprehensive tool to analyze human-bear conflicts at national and regional scales. Implement a systematic science-based method of collecting human-bear interaction data in the polar bear Range States. Organize and analyze historic data range-wide and address specific bear management questions throughout the Range States. Recommend formal research on deterrent measures Develop Human-caused mortality section of the CAP. Page 10 March 13, 2013

11 Thank you ᖁᔭᓐᓇᒦᒃ Page 11 March 13, 2013

12 Polar Bear Management in Canada: Land claims context, jurisdictional processes & decision making Dr. Rachel Vallender Canadian Wildlife Service Environment Canada Page 12 March 13, 2013

13 Overview Overview of the Canadian management system: key players The federal role Land Claims Agreements and Treaties Wildlife Management Boards Wildlife management in the jurisdictions An example from Southern Hudson Bay Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec Page 13 March 13, 2013

14 An overview key players: Provincial/Territorial Governments + Polar Bear Administrative Committee Polar Bear Technical Committee Wildlife Management Boards Federal Government Endangered Species Legislation 1 o responsibility Regional Wildlife Offices Hunters and Trappers Organizations Inuit organizations Page 14 March 13, 2013

15 The federal role Environment Canada National coordination Provide national leadership Polar Bear Administrative and Technical Committees Regional coordination work (e.g. eastern Arctic) Some habitat protection (e.g. national wildlife areas) Lead on international coordination 1973 Agreement (with Russia, USA, Norway, Greenland) Circumpolar Action Plan Agreements with USA (2008) and Greenland (2009) for management of shared populations Export control (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Species At Risk Act listing, & Management Plan development Involvement in research and monitoring. Page 15 March 13, 2013

16 Four Inuit regions of Canada Page 16 March 13, 2013

17 Nunavut Page 17 March 13, 2013

18 Wildlife Management - Nunavut Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA) Nunavut Settlement Area established. Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) mandate: coordinates and manages Inuit responsibilities set out in the NLCA and ensures that the federal and territorial governments fulfill their obligations. Article 5 identifies a wildlife co-management system between the Government of Nunavut (GN) and the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board (NWMB). The GN, NWMB and NTI sit on the Canadian Polar Bear Administrative Committee (PBAC) and Polar Bear Technical Committee (PBTC). Page 18 March 13, 2013

19 Quebec Page 19 March 13, 2013

20 Wildlife Management - Quebec James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA) Makivik Corporation (1975): mandate = to protect the rights, interests and financial compensation provided by the JBNQA. Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (NILCA) Nunavik Marine Region identified. NILCA identifies the Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board (NMRWB) as the main instrument for wildlife management in the NMR. The Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF) has responsibility for the JBNQA. The MRNF, NMRWB & Makivik sit on the PBAC & PBTC. Page 20 March 13, 2013

21 Northwest Territories & Yukon Page 21 March 13, 2013

22 Wildlife Management NT & YK Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA) Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) established. Wildlife Management Advisory Council (NT) Wildlife Management Advisory Council (NS) WMAC (NT & NS) facilitate the distribution of harvest limits for Inuvialuit in the ISR. Inuvialuit Game Council (IGC) represents the collective Inuvialuit interest in wildlife in the ISR. Harvesting rights for Inuvialuit peoples in the ISR pursuant to subsections (15) and (18) of the IFA. The GNWT, WMAC (NS & NT) and the IGC sit on the PBAC & PBTC. Page 22 March 13, 2013

23 Newfoundland and Labrador Page 23 March 13, 2013

24 Wildlife Management - NL Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement (LILCA) Labrador Inuit Settlement Area (LISA) established. Nunatsiavut Government (NG) created as a regional Inuit government under the LILCA. Torngat Plants and Wildlife Co-Management Board an institution of public governance established under the LILCA. Torngat mandate = to recommend conservation and management measures for wildlife in the LISA to the Minister. The GNL, NG and Torngat sit on the PBAC and PBTC. Page 24 March 13, 2013

25 Ontario James Bay Treaty Treaty No. 9 Page 25 March 13, 2013

26 Wildlife Management - Ontario No Land Claims Agreement, and therefore no Wildlife Management Board. Harvesting rights to James Bay Treaty Treaty No. 9 First Nations peoples. Harvest limits associated with Treaty 9. Harvest by non-first Nations is prohibited under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act and the Ontario Endangered Species Act. James Bay Treaty Treaty No : King Edward VII & First Nations in Northern ON : Ojibway and Swampy Cree were added Page 26 March 13, 2013

27 Example: Management of polar bear in Southern Hudson Bay SB NB VM NW LS KB BB MC GB FB DS WH SH. Page 27 March 13, 2013

28 Nunavut (Belcher Islands/Sanikiluaq) SB NB VM NW LS KB BB MC GB FB DS WH SH. Page 28 March 13, 2013

29 Nunavut Ultimate responsibility and legislative authority lies with the Government of Nunavut (GN) as represented by the Minister of Environment. Authority subject to terms of the NLCA which established a co-management system (with the NWMB). Co-management process requires consultation with Regional Wildlife Organizations and community Hunters and Trappers Organizations. Decisions by the NWMB may be accepted, varied or rejected by the GN Min of Environment. Page 29 March 13, 2013

30 Nunavut Wildlife Management Board (NWMB) The NWMB is a quasi-judicial tribunal with decisionmaking responsibility, acting as the main instrument of wildlife management and the main regulator of access to wildlife in the NSA. The major roles and responsibilities of the NWMB are set out in the NLCA. NWMB decisions are reviewed by the relevant Minister, subject to explicit directions set out in the NLCA. Page 30 March 13, 2013

31 NWMB - Role in polar bear management In particular to polar bear management, the NWMB is required to make decisions pertaining to the following: 1.) establishing, modifying or removing levels of total allowable harvest; 2.) establishing, modifying or removing non-quota limitations. In making these decisions the NWMB is required to take into account harvesting activities outside of the NSA and the terms of domestic interjurisidictional agreements or international agreements. Page 31 March 13, 2013

32 NWMB - Role in polar bear management In addition, the NWMB exercises other relevant authorities, including related to polar bears: having a role in the negotiation or amendment of domestic interjurisdictional agreements; the approval of plans for management and/or protection of polar bears; the approval of SARA species designations; identifying research requirements and deficiencies, and providing funding for polar bear research. Page 32 March 13, 2013

33 Decision making in Nunavut Page 33 March 13, 2013

34 Ontario SB NB VM NW LS KB BB MC GB FB DS WH SH. Page 34 March 13, 2013

35 Harvest Management / Treaty Rights Harvest rights for Treaty 9 members who reside on Hudson and James Bay coast. Harvest by others is prohibited under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act/ESA. In the past, sale of hides was monitored and controlled by issuing a maximum of 30 seals attached by the OMNR in the harvest year (July 1 June 30). Bears harvested for handicrafts and for defense shootings are not required to have a seal. Annual harvest of 30 bears is allocated by agreement among the coastal communities since the 1970s. Harvest has been declining in Ontario since the 1990s. Page 35 March 13, 2013

36 Quebec SB NB VM NW LS KB BB MC GB FB DS WH SH. Page 36 March 13, 2013

37 Quebec JBNQA The JBNQA extends only to the high tide line (i.e. is terrestrial). JBNQA restricts taking of polar bear to Aboriginal peoples. Provides a guaranteed harvest level (GHL), that is subject to the principles of conservation, before sport or commercial hunting could take place. The GHL covers the entire JBNQA region with 4 bears reserved for the Cree of Northern Quebec (58 for Nunavik Inuit). NILCA The NILCA extends the JBNQA to include the offshore islands and traditional marine areas used by Nunavik Inuit. It also identifies the NMRWB as the main instrument for wildlife management in the NMR. Page 37 March 13, 2013

38 Role of the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF) Responsible for management of natural resources within Quebec. Application of the JBNQA. Responsible for a harvest registration program: Provision of tags and control of commerce within QC. Provision of interprovincial export permits. Registration of harvest forms in a regional database in the provincial registration system. Payment to hunters for registration of harvested bears and for providing skulls from harvested bears (for age determination etc). Participates in the PBAC, PBTC and the Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Coordinating Committee. Participates in the Cree Trappers Association and Nunavik Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Association. Participate in wildlife surveys and hunter education) Page 38 March 13, 2013

39 Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board (NMRWB) Co-management body established through the NILCA. Responsible for establishing, modifying or removing levels of TAH and non-quota limitations for polar bear harvesting in the NMR (subject to approval by the responsible Minister). No polar bear harvesting restrictions have been approved by the NMRWB, but a management plan is in development. NMRWB collaborates with regional and local hunters associations (RNUK & LNUK) regarding the management of harvesting practices. Page 39 March 13, 2013

40 Take of polar bear Quotas/limits are in place across the country Quotas are based on the best available science and Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Quotas are reviewed regularly especially when new data become available Up to date population estimates for all subpopulations by 2018 All forms of polar bear mortality are applied to the quotas Subsistence harvest, sports hunt, defense of life or property kills Page 40 March 13, 2013

41 Take home messages Canada has a robust and responsive system in place that works well. This system reflects the Canadian context: Federal system Diverse and rapidly changing conditions in the Arctic. A national policy direction to provide for Inuit self-government (accommodating diverse set of values). Inuit have established rights (strong national Aboriginal organizations). recognizes the important role provinces and territories, Wildlife Management Boards, Inuit orgs and the federal government have to play. Mechanisms for interjurisdictional coordination are in place, actions are proactive and responses are rapid (e.g. DS, SHB). It may look complex to outsiders but each piece is necessary and ensures effective outcomes. Page 41 March 13, 2013

42 Take home messages Management is coordinated nationally through the PBAC. PBAC meets twice annually, and as needed through teleconference. Research is coordinated nationally through the PBTC. PBTC meets once annually, and as needed through teleconference PBTC members also sit on the IUCN/SSC PBSG The PBTC reports to the PBAC on an annual basis. Page 42 March 13, 2013

43 Thank you ᖁᔭᓐᓇᒦᒃ Page 43 March 13, 2013

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