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Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on 
Fisheries and Oceans

Issue 8 - Evidence, May 1, 2008

OTTAWA, Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans met this day at 10:49 a.m. to examine and report on issues relating to the federal government's current and evolving policy framework for managing Canada's fisheries and oceans. Topic: Arctic Study.

Senator Bill Rompkey (Chair) in the chair.


The Chair: Honourable senators, today the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans is meeting to discuss our study of the emerging government policy with particular focus now on the Arctic and, more specifically, a focus on the role of the Canadian Coast Guard.

My name is Bill Rompkey and I represent Newfoundland and Labrador. I would like to identify those in attendance today: Senator Adams from Nunavut; Senator Robichaud from New Brunswick; Senator Meighen from Ontario; and Senator Comeau, the Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate and a former distinguished chair of this committee.

As I indicated, we are discussing government policy with a focus on the Arctic and a specific focus on the role of the Coast Guard. To date, we have heard from a present and a former director of the Coast Guard. We have also heard from Dr. Michael Byers, from the University of British Columbia; Dr. Rob Huebert, from the University of Calgary; Mr. Duane Smith, President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council; Dr. Scott Borgerson, former member of the U.S. Coast Guard, who gave us a very interesting presentation; and representatives from Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

It is my pleasure to welcome our witnesses today from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ms. Michelle Wheatley, Regional Director, Science, Central and Arctic Region; and Mr. Burt Hunt, Regional Director, Fisheries and Aquaculture Management, Central and Arctic Region. Welcome to the committee.

Before we begin, I propose a 10-minute limit on questioning per senator, not precluding a second round. Honourable senators, is it agreed that we set a 10-minute time limit for questioning with the understanding that there can be a second round?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: I would like to set some context for our meeting this morning, because we have had studies on Nunavut. The former chair of the committee will know that a solid report was prepared on Nunavut, and we have had some hearings on this more recently.

As we understand it, the northern situation is as follows: no saltwater inshore or mid-shore fishery to speak of; no federal wharfs; still only a small share of turbot and shrimp resources adjacent to Nunavut; and no major development effort. Nunavut has a lot of adjacent turbot and shrimp resources and has co-management. They parcel out the Nunavut quota among different interests, including the Baffin Fisheries Coalition. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, DFO, decides how big the overall Nunavut quota is, and boats from elsewhere come and fish at least a portion of that quota. With respect to inshore and mid-shore development work, there has been some small-scale test fisheries but never a major effort.

The territory and the department have not come up, as far as we can tell, with a thorough and concerted research and development effort comparable to that of the southern fisheries after the Second World War.

One might ask who controls small-craft harbours' money. Is it Winnipeg or Ottawa? The last federal budget promised an $8-million harbour in Pangnirtung, but that is only one of the seven that a federal-territorial study agreed would be appropriate. I would hope that we can avail ourselves of that knowledge in our questions.

K. Burt Hunt, Regional Director, Fisheries and Aquaculture Management, Central and Arctic Region, Fisheries and Oceans Canada: Dr. Wheatley and I are pleased to have this opportunity to speak with you today. I met several of you during your earlier committee visit to Iqaluit when I was the area director there. In particular, I recall a wonderful picnic we had with the group and the community. I recognize three senators here today who were at that picnic on the beautiful Sylvia Grinnell River that runs close to Iqaluit. I am pleased to meet my friend Senator Adams again, after seeing him frequently for several years but not at all for the last three years. I have been on a small leave of absence from the government for a couple of years. Young though Senator Adams is, we go back a few years and have some things and time in common.

We understand that the committee is planning a trip to the Eastern Arctic, in particular to East Baffin communities. I understand you are looking at an agenda for that trip. We also understand that you would like us to brief you on the topical fisheries issues that you might encounter during that visit and otherwise. We have started with an indication of how business is done in the North. Mr. Chair, you mentioned co-management, and I will address that. I will begin speaking very generally, and then we will get to the more specific issues with regard to the Eastern Arctic. The East Baffin communities will be mentioned during that discussion.

Dr. Wheatley will follow me to provide an overview of science activities and issues of import to them and to Nunavummiut in the course of her presentation and the ensuing discussion. With your agreement, we will make our presentations, after which we will be pleased to elaborate further as you see fit and answer the questions in the fashion that you have described.

First, to northern governance and the features that land claims, essentially modern day treaties, have created for the respective partners. We will talk about the co-management regime that we and our partners work under. Then we will talk about the Eastern Arctic and move to a specific presentation about the nature and location of the existing commercial fisheries, followed by discussion on some of the emerging fisheries opportunities and how the partners are approaching them. In the decks before you, on page 3, you will see a map indicating the northern land claims areas. You will recognize that this northern land claims process has gone on for decades and has resulted in areas that are set aside for the benefit of traditional users. Of course, there are areas of overlap between user groups. The Inuvialuit Final Agreement, in yellow in your deck, is the oldest agreement in our administrative area dating back to 1984. There followed a series of others, but not all of those shown are settled. Of course, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement was settled and signed in 1993. It has the largest surface area and is shown in blue on the map. The settling of that agreement put a number of things in motion. Certainly, land claims have greatly influenced the way in which we decide and deliver our programming in the Arctic, in particular in claim areas.

Page 4 of the presentation material is on co-management. A major feature of most of the claims is the creation of a fisheries and/or wildlife management board. Duties, responsibilities and authorities amongst those boards vary. The Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, NWMB, which you have heard much about in earlier presentations, deals with both fisheries and wildlife species and issues. The Inuvialuit Final Agreement, the Fisheries Joint Management Committee, FJMC, deals only with fisheries issues.

In any event, the boards are typically described as the main instrument of fisheries, or wildlife, management in the settlement area. The co-management regime created by the claim insists that government operate in ways that it may not have traditionally done. It encourages and enables an engagement and consensus decision, whereas government frequently acted alone prior to the claim. The land claims agreements legislate authorities and responsibilities of the partners and insist on user involvement in shared decision making. This ensures that opinions are heard in a consultative process and that decisions integrate traditional knowledge with scientific knowledge. Users being part of the decision makes it relevant to the circumstances and has the added benefit of giving ownership and community support to the decision when those constituents are part of the decision.

That sort of frames our co-management regimes and responsibilities. A particular feature of note is the working together to achieve our ends.

I will go now, more or less specifically, to the Eastern Arctic. On page 5 of your deck, there is a map of Nunavut depicting, among other things, what I understand to be the communities that you are visiting. If you look to the north of Baffin Island, you will see why fish and fisheries are of immense importance to the East Baffin communities. Life has essentially revolved around marine mammal populations and continues to do so. More recently, the bulk of the commercial fishing is carried out adjacent to these communities in the areas of Baffin Bay shown on the map, Davis Strait and the area down a little further south and to the right in the North Atlantic, north of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The partners' management of the various fisheries includes a myriad of species and issues. Some involve subsistence and traditional ways of living and some involve commercial use of the resource, particularly recently. Nunavummiut frequently used the various resources to support subsistence as well as commercial needs. As a result of growing demands, char and some other populations near some of the communities are under pressure.

You will also hear about issues when you are visiting the communities related to the commercial fishery. You are likely to hear concern over turbot quotas, access and allocations, and shares in the fishery remain contentious. You will have been hearing that from earlier witnesses as well. You also may hear of shrimp and a wish for greater share of shrimp quotas, despite the fact that most of the shrimp quotas have not been taken recently due to low prices and rising costs.

Marine mammals are of immense concern to residents and the department, and to our co-managers, partners and the people that live in Nunavut. The department and our co-managers collectively manage some 50 marine mammal stocks. We are very concerned with ensuring a sustainable and efficient narwhal and beluga whale harvest. The number of animals "struck and lost" — animals that may be wounded but not recovered — continues to be a concern for managers and those in the communities. That is something you will no doubt hear about in your visit to the North Baffin communities particularly.

The bowhead whale population — that is the large whale — has been an issue recently. As a result of upward estimates in population size, a larger harvest of bowhead whales is being discussed at this time. Also, Nunavummiut, looking for income from the harvest of seal pelts, have been thwarted by the public's view of the seal harvest and bad international press, affecting markets and prices.

I will try to give you a bird's-eye view of the existing commercial fishery since that will no doubt form much of the focus of your visit. I have included a map on page 8 that describes the fishing areas off the eastern coast of Baffin Island relevant to the communities you will be visiting.

There are some recreation-cum-commercial opportunities in some areas of Western Nunavut. They tend to be fishing enterprises in and near Cambridge Bay, Kugluktuk and Bathurst Inlet, to name a few. These enterprises contribute a few million dollars to Nunavut's economy.

Some would suggest the commercial fishery is the more important fishery. It depends on your perspective. Char is fished commercially. There are plants in Pangnirtung — which I understand you are visiting — Rankin Inlet, Cambridge Bay and a small processing plant in Iqaluit. The first three plants provide substantial economic opportunity to the communities.

An overall quota of 8,500 tonnes of shrimp is harvested among 17 licence holders and processed on factory vessels. Of shrimp harvested in the shrimp fishing areas, SFAs, north of Quebec and Labrador and east of Nunavut, 31 per cent go to Nunavut interests. However, as I mentioned earlier, much of the overall shrimp quota is left in the water in these times of low prices.

I have attached a map that shows where shrimp fishing is concentrated. If you turn to the map, you will notice that the effort is concentrated in a few locations with shrimp; that is shown with the green spots on your map.

The map also shows the furthest north area, and that is area 0A — 1A being the Greenland side and 0A being the Canadian side. These are Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, NAFO, areas; and 0A is a fairly new fishery, largely developed in the last 10 years. The entire 6,500-tonne allocation, including 100 tonnes to be taken inshore — you referred to that earlier, Senator Rompkey — goes to Nunavut interests. The Nunavut Wildlife Management Board divides the quota among the Nunavut interests.

The original northern turbot fishing area is 0B — northern despite being south of 0A. A 500-tonne quota in Cumberland Sound, which is where Pangnirtung is located, goes to Nunavut interests. The offshore area, mainly pioneered by southern interests over the last few decades, has some 4,000 tonnes of the 5,500-tonne, offshore 0B allocation going to non-Nunavut interests. This, as you have heard, remains a source of friction in Nunavut.

Nunavut's share of the overall turbot fishery, including all of the 0A allocation and its component of the 0B fishery, gives Nunavut 68 per cent of the total turbot presently available in that greater area.

To give you an idea of the scale of the fishery, the Nunavut fishery strategy produced by the Government of Nunavut indicates that the value of all of Nunavut shrimp and turbot allocations is $55 million. You will recognize that much of that is localized to the communities that you are going to visit. Referring again to the map on page 8, the areas of turbot fishing concentration are shown with the brown spots, for lack of a better description.

You mentioned some emerging opportunities, and there being limits in those opportunities. You certainly will hear from the communities about their hopes for further development of the fishery. There are some opportunities — some being developed and, hopefully, many more to come that we do not know about at this point.

The Cumberland Sound 500-tonne quota has been attempted over the past several years as a winter longline fishery, that is a hook-and-line fishery, but recent ice conditions have prevented fishing. We have had winters where they could not do any fishing at all. Some people wish to fish in the area in summer, using gillnets and perhaps trolls; but local objection exists due to possible whale entanglement.

Whales are a very important commodity to Pangnirtung. There is a promise as to how and when to avoid the whales, and efforts and study to sort that out are continuing.

A consortium of hunter trapper associations have applied for exploratory licences to fish in the very far northern areas of Jones Sound near Grise Fiord, Admiralty Inlet near Arctic Bay and Parry Channel near Resolute Bay. I suspect you will be visiting some of those as well.

Though little is known of the fish populations, the physical nature of the area appears to be similar to the turbot habitat that we are enjoying off the further eastern coast. There has been some work, mostly exploratory, on shellfish populations. Some localized clam, mussel and scallop populations have been identified, but both the supply and the economics of the venture — essentially the high costs of working in the North — require further work. Crab exploratory work in Hudson Strait off the Nunavut coast a few years ago failed to find significant quantities of any type of crab in that particular area.

Exploratory kelp work — that Senator Adams also will be familiar with because it typically comes from the west side of Hudson Bay — has shown some potential. Again, however, it has not developed into a commercial venture for a variety of reasons.

There remain unexploited stocks of Arctic char, but these are typically well-removed from the communities and/or facilities and, therefore, they too are not commercially viable at this time and in this circumstance. There may be undiscovered inshore turbot and shrimp opportunities as well. As mentioned, we are hoping stock assessment and exploratory work will reveal those opportunities. My colleague will address that further in a moment.

Challenges to the emerging fishery include, as you will hear and have heard, access to sufficient quantities of the resource. The very frontier nature of the area is an impediment to easy development — costs are high and returns questionable. Stock assessment is difficult and costly. Local infrastructure is thin — facilities and developed capacity to deal with local char and turbot harvests are limited to a few locations. Capital remains elusive due to the frontier nature of the fishery and uncertain returns.

Some measures presently underway will hopefully increase economic opportunities. Dr. Wheatley intends to speak to the science items related to research and stock assessment, as well as seabed mapping in aid of further development.

You know that the recent federal budget announced expansion of harbour facilities at Pangnirtung — you referred to that, senator — to enable additional development of the commercial fishery, as well as to meet domestic and resupply needs in the community. Details are not yet available, but we are hopeful that management and science resources in pursuit of an expanded fishery will accompany the Pangnirtung project.

The Nunavut Fisheries Strategy, developed by the Government of Nunavut, outlines the aspirations of Nunavut and Nunavummiut and the methods it intends to use to develop opportunities by way of its fish resources. You may already have heard testimony on the strategy but, if not, you may find it worthwhile to familiarize yourselves with the strategy prior to visiting the Baffin communities. I see it is available online as well as on CD.

All managers and users of the fishery are interested in the long-term sustainability and viability of the fishery. We are approaching development with principles of sustainability and integration in mind. All of us fully realize that development of the fishery brings obvious benefits to those using the resource directly. It can be argued, as well, that benefits from the fishery extend to protecting Canada's economic and sovereignty interests in the Arctic. You will no doubt hear from Nunavummiut and those communities that you visit that development by way of the fishery is good for Canada.

The Chair: Thank you. Before I go to Ms. Wheatley, I would simply note that I failed to introduce two other members of the committee: Our very distinguished Deputy Chair, Senator Cochrane; and the newest member of our committee, Senator Cook, who we are very pleased is joining us.

Michelle Wheatley, Regional Director, Science, Central and Arctic Region, Fisheries and Oceans Canada: I will be referring to the deck in front of you entitled "DFO Arctic Science."

I want to echo Mr. Hunt's comments that it is a pleasure to be here and to speak with you today. I likewise have had the opportunity to meet some of you when you visited Iqaluit and actually to appear here before you some years ago when I wore a previous "hat" working with the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board.

You have already heard from the Assistant Deputy Minister of Science for DFO, Dr. Wendy Watson-Wright, when she appeared before you in December. Today, I will not repeat the information that she provided, but, rather, I hope I can provide some additional details on the specifics about DFO's science activities in the Central and Arctic Region, with particular emphasis on how we involve the northern communities and northerners in the research work.

As Mr. Hunt indicated in his presentation, co-management is an integral part of how we do our work in the Arctic and influences the delivery of the DFO science program. In this presentation, I will provide a brief overview of the science carried out in the Central and Arctic Region, which represent 70 per cent of Canada, and then illustrate how we involve communities and individual northerners in our research program from priorities to planning, funding, program delivery and decision making. I will then provide a few ideas on the current and future activities we are undertaking within the science program.

There are five science divisions in the Central and Arctic Region. Two of these divisions conduct work in the Arctic: The Arctic Aquatic Research Division and the Canadian Hydrographic Service. The Canadian Hydrographic Service conducts surveys and charts Arctic waters to ensure safe and accessible waterways. They are also active in collecting data in support of the Canadian mission with respect to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS.

The National Centre for Arctic Aquatic Research Excellence, N-CAARE, is a virtual centre of expertise that coordinates our science activities in the North, across the sector and also with external partners. There are also sections within the Arctic division focused on stock assessment and integrated ecosystem research; and ecosystem impacts — focusing on climate change, habitat and the role of the ocean as well as laboratory and field support staff.

No matter which of these groups is undertaking work in the North, all will involve interaction with northerners and the communities to at least some extent. However, I can best illustrate how we involve northerners in the science program by using the example of our activities related to stock assessment. Most of our interactions with the co- management boards with responsibility for fish and wildlife management are related to their mandated responsibilities, which are focused to a large extent on managing the harvest of fish, marine mammals or other wildlife. This means that the stock assessment work that we carry out is of great interest to them.

Each co-management board has its own process for identifying wildlife management issues of concern for the communities and for the board. These are usually community-based or community-driven so that the people in the community can identify their needs and feed up through the system. Science staff from the region participate in these sessions, which gives them a chance to hear the issues first-hand and to dialogue with the northerners about their concerns. This dialogue is essential to fully understand the issue or the concern and to ensure that the appropriate steps are taken to address that concern.

The issues identified through these priority-setting processes are included in the annual planning meetings that we hold between the regional fisheries management staff, who work for Mr. Hunt, and the science staff where decisions are made on the issues that will be addressed in the coming year. Often multi-year planning occurs.

Once priorities have been identified, research plans are developed by the individual researchers. At this stage, the researchers make arrangements to visit the relevant communities to explain their proposed research, how it will address concerns the communities have raised, what assistance will be needed from the community and what the employment opportunities will be. It is also a time for the community members to have input to the research, and provide advice on the location, methods and the timing of the proposed work. Many of the current researchers have been conducting research in the North for over two decades, and, therefore, have developed some very good working relationships with the communities where they do their work.

The co-management boards provide significant amounts of funding to support DFO's research. Funding is provided based on proposals submitted to the board. In the case of the Eastern Arctic, it is the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board. Community support for the research is essential before these boards would provide funding. Without this funding, some of the research would not be undertaken; this funding is critical. You can see, therefore, why it is so important that we listen to the priorities that the boards and those the communities identify.

Conducting research in the North requires a great deal of logistical preparation and coordination. Depending on the work at hand, local people will be hired to assist with the research, which may include work such as tagging, sampling or aerial observations, or they may be hired to provide logistical support. In some cases, locals are trained and then continue the work after the researcher has left the community.

In another example, our marine mammal sampling program, hunters are provided with instructions and sampling kits, which are then returned to DFO through the hunters and trappers associations.

I must also note that, depending on the research program, a number of our researchers also receive logistical support through the Polar Continental Shelf Project, PCSP, based in Resolute — often in the form of helicopter time, which may be the only means of reaching some of these remote research sites.

Some research projects can be completed in one year, but most require multi-year data collection programs. Communities and co-management boards are provided with updates on the progress of the research each year. The results of our research generate science advice to fisheries management and to the co-management boards to assist them in making decisions with respect to harvesting levels or locations.

One example of how we have worked with our partners to produce science advice is the research and advice that led to the establishment of the 0A turbot fishery. Without the funding from the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board and DFO, as well as several other partners over the years, we could not have undertaken the research that led to the initial turbot quotas in 0A and to the subsequent increases in the quotas. Similarly, a co-funded tagging program for turbot research in Cumberland Sound led to the establishment of a separate quota for the Cumberland Sound area in Nunavut.

While this description has focused generally on the stock assessment and related activities, this is primarily to illustrate how we involve the northerners in our work. It is important to note that the information collected through all DFO science activities, including oceanography and hydrographic surveys, provides information and understanding of the northern waters and contributes to our overall understanding of the northern ecosystem.

This year, we expect to have over 30 science staff from the Central and Arctic Region conducting research activities in the Arctic. There will also be additional staff from other regions. There will be a variety of research activities in both the Eastern and Western Arctic on marine mammals, including walrus, narwhal, beluga, bowhead, seals and killer whales. We will continue our research on the marine fish adjacent to Baffin Island, with the third year of a four-year research program on the turbot in Baffin Bay and additional research on shrimp.

In freshwater, our research will continue on a number of species, including Dolly Varden, Arctic char and shortjaw cisco, among others. Our research on the potential impacts of oil and gas development in the Mackenzie Delta and Beaufort Sea will also continue, and the hydrographic surveys will go on across the Arctic.

Last year, we were pleased to be able to announce an increase in the number of staff in the Arctic stock assessment group, with six additional positions in the region. These new staff — the positions we are staffing right now — will allow us to expand the work we are doing in the North and address more of the concerns that we are hearing from northerners.

The Speech from the Throne and Budget 2008 highlighted the Arctic and provide additional potential opportunities to increase DFO science activities in the North. We look forward to pursuing these opportunities.

In summary, I hope this presentation has given you a quick overview of how we involve northerners in our science activities.

The Chair: Before I go to Senator Meighen, could you tell me who or what is a Dolly Varden?

Ms. Wheatley: It is a type of char.

The Chair: Do they only exist north of 60?

Mr. Hunt: It is probably safe to say, yes, only north of 60. At one time, they were all considered to be char. Since then, the Dolly Varden char has been differentiated. They are particularly important to the issue we have us before us now, an issue involving the Fisheries Joint Management Committee, representing the Inuvialuit region, and the Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board, representing the Gwich'in area of the lower Mackenzie River. We were developing with them an integrated fisheries management plan over Dolly Varden char, which are very important to lower Mackenzie River communities on the west side of the river, including Aklavik and Fort McPherson, Arctic Red River. There is a slight differentiation from char. To the untrained eye, probably including mine, they look like char.

Senator Meighen: My question is directed at Mr. Hunt because of the title he bears of the regional director of Fisheries and Aquaculture Management. During your presentation, I do not think you mentioned aquaculture. Is that because there is little or no aquaculture in the area for which you are responsible? If that is so, do you foresee the growth of aquaculture in years to come? If so, do you think it will be possible and would it be your desire to have the industry in that area set up in such a fashion as to avoid some of the unfortunate side effects, valuable though the industry is, that it has had elsewhere on native populations?

Mr. Hunt: Indeed, as the regional director of Fisheries and Aquaculture Management, aquaculture is one of the hats I wear. For these purposes, aquaculture is nonexistent. We essentially do not do aquaculture, which is the somewhat artificial production of fish, north of 60. In Ontario, the Prairie provinces, as well as the two northern territories, we do aquaculture. In Ontario, Manitoulin Island area, we have a decent aquaculture production. This is always, in our circumstance, freshwater production of rainbow trout. Similarly, we have a large operation in Lake Diefenbaker in Saskatchewan, which is in a planned growth mode, incidentally, as is the Georgian Bay activity.

This department has indicated a direction toward support for aquaculture in general. That support extends toward the Prairie provinces. We are having discussions with the various provincial governments about memorandums of understanding with respect to aquaculture development in, for instance, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. These are ongoing as we speak. We look for increased levels of aquaculture in Ontario and the Prairie provinces particularly.

In answer to your question about avoiding the side effects, this is being done not exactly slowly but certainly carefully, in full consult with the appropriate groups, as they may be, and with the indulgence, consent and approval of the provincial governments and agencies. It essentially is very much a joint effort aimed at development that will contribute to local economies.

As to the effects, the siting of these areas is very carefully monitored and chosen. This largely is a product of the provincial jurisdiction in terms of the tenure of the lease, whatever it may be. We have provided expertise. Also, the budget mentioned aquaculture and that a few million dollars will be put into aquaculture development, and we in the inland would hope to get a share of that.

As to the side effects, and you are likely referring to the press on sea lice, for instance, that is a saltwater issue, not a freshwater issue. The siting is carefully monitored and looked at in terms of the flow of water by the impact on the local environment and so on.

We do have some research happening in the experimental lakes area, which Dr. Wheatley would speak to better than I can, but suffice it to say that we are working with the industry on minimizing the environmental impact of agriculture operations and see a great future in it.

Senator Meighen: You did not mention saltwater aquaculture. Is that because you see no likelihood of that growing in the near future? You also mentioned the siting, I gather in fresh water, being closely monitored. Would that be done by you, by the provincial authorities or jointly?

Mr. Hunt: Salt water is not my purview and jurisdiction. The East and West Coasts fall under a different regime. I am the regional director of the Central and Arctic Region, so Ontario and the Prairies, if you will.

Senator Meighen: I was thinking of northern.

Mr. Hunt: Our saltwater area does not have any aquaculture at this point in time, so I am not informed enough to speak on the East and West Coast, in the traditional sense, in terms of aquaculture. In the North, we do not have any aquaculture, so we have not had to grapple with those issues.

Senator Meighen: Do you see aquaculture coming in the North, whether it is shellfish or finfish?

Mr. Hunt: Not in the short-term future. Our territorial counterparts, either the Northwest Territories or Nunavut, have not shown a lot of interest in an aquaculture initiative up there at this time.

Senator Meighen: If and when aquaculture does come, I hope there will be close monitoring of the siting and the regulations governing it.


Senator Robichaud: I would like to take up the subject raised by Senator Meighen, that is aquaculture. You are saying that no aquaculture is taking place in marine saltwaters right now. Do you think that there will not be any in the future? And what about some lakes that could be used as aquaculture sites?


Mr. Hunt: In my jurisdictional area, there are no plans at this time for saltwater aquaculture. We would want to remain innovative and receptive to work that could transpire in that direction, but it is not a burning issue for our co- managers and for the territorial governments and, for those reasons, for our department. For the East and West Coast, yes, but for the North Coast, salt water is not an issue that we are investing time and energy in at this point, due, in part at least, to lack of interest on the part of our peers and partners.


Senator Robichaud: Ms. Wheatley, you talked about research and the fact that some researchers have worked in this area for close to 20 years. Has their presence in the area encouraged some locals to chose research as a professional field?


Ms. Wheatley: Many of the researchers have developed very good relationships with the communities. Certainly, in my experience, when there has been a question about a certain method that is being used, when one of the researchers actually spends time in the community and talks and fully explains, people generally come on board with the research. That is where the long-term development of relationships is important because the researchers get to know what the issues and concerns are in the communities. From that, they can adjust their approach, their methods and work with the communities to address those issues.

Some communities have cooperated with researchers, and in many cases the same people work with the same researchers for many years.

Senator Robichaud: The fact that they have been working together and the young population sees what is happening with research, just how useful it is and how you need that to develop policy, have some locals actually looked at being the experts? I would suppose most of the researchers come from the South.

Ms. Wheatley: Yes, most of the researchers do come from the South. Certainly, we are always on the look-out. We would love to find some northerners who want to pursue that career and find ways to help them do that. We have had discussions with the high schools and various groups to look for ways to get people interested. Unfortunately, to actually make a career in research, there are certain steps that normally would be taken, such as going to college or university, and that is a big step for many people. We have hired people who have come through the Environmental Technology Program at Nunavut Arctic College. They have worked in the area office in Iqaluit or have been involved in the research in various communities. Thus far, we have not had anyone who has been ready to go south to university. That is the step that needs to be taken. They have to go south to go to university. Certainly, if we could find someone who wanted to do that, we would find ways to help them make it happen, and I think I would be offering them a job the next day.

Senator Robichaud: You say that you would find ways. That suggests that there are ways or programs that would help them along the way for their studies.

Ms. Wheatley: Our understanding from meeting with some of the high schools — for instance, the high school in Iqaluit — is that funding is not an issue. Funding is available. Generally, the issue is support for being away from their communities and families. Senators here are probably aware of the Nunavut Sivuniksavut Training Program here in Ottawa. The members of that program get some good experience of being away from home and attending an educational program. Perhaps we can find people in that program who are interested. It is a matter of finding someone who is interested, identifying their obstacles and ways we can help them address those. As I say, if someone were interested, I would grab them and find a way to make it happen.

Senator Robichaud: Is there anything we could do to help find ways to get youth interested in research and to work with DFO? You are involving the locals, but I think they have to be involved much more in the future because of the melting of the ice, the traffic and everything that will happen up there.

Ms. Wheatley: We have done consultation programs across the North. In preparation for International Polar Year, for instance, there were tours across the North. I have been having discussions with my staff to determine whether, over the next year, we can look at other opportunities to travel to the North, spend some time in the communities and have a bit of a travelling road show for communities. Not just to do one presentation, but to get into the schools and the communities and make people aware. It is important that people see how our research is being used to now benefit the communities. That is a key thing that we need to do, to remind people where the science is being used to benefit and help them. We too easily remember the times where science brings a restriction on harvest. We forget when the science is being used that leads to a new opportunity.

We need to do more of a showcase on that. I am bringing my experience from 12 years in the Arctic, including 7.5 years in Nunavut, to my new position and trying to apply that. Hopefully, sometime in the next year we will be able to take that opportunity.

Mr. Hunt: Senator Robichaud, to take that in a different direction in terms of employment and benefit from fish, fishing and so on, you may be aware that Human Resources and Social Development Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Government of Nunavut and other agencies have embarked on a $3.2-million training program for people and their involvement in the fishery. That is not for education for the researcher to whom you were referring, but, as well as the value of the fish that we tend to measure the fishery in, it is for those value-added things such as the employment that is created and so on. This is a training program, which I am not in involved in, but I understand that it involves actual hands-on experience on the vessels; that is, fishing and being part of the crew, and training time in both the Nunavut community and in Newfoundland at a training institute. That institute then takes these people back and gives them the opportunity within the fishery. That is part of a three-year, $3.2-million program that is being offered in an effort to generate income, as well as stability to the fishery. It is one aspect of the employment that could, should and hopefully will come from the fishery and, in that scenario, the commercial fishery.

Senator Cochrane: Do you have any idea of the number of people from the North who are engaged in that program?

Mr. Hunt: I have an anecdotal report that about 300 people have been involved, but I stand to be corrected. In anticipation of your question — and, I want to thank you for asking it — I inquired about how many people have been put through the program. The person I asked, who should be in a position of knowing the best estimate, said that it was 300 people to date.

Senator Cochrane: Are those people from the North?

Mr. Hunt: Yes, from the North.

Senator Cochrane: Is it the intention that they go back to help their own fishers and give their input in the community?

Mr. Hunt: The idea is that these people would be trained. That training is provided as part of this somewhat joint effort and contribution. They are then in a position to work with the crews. I have been at meetings where the discussion concerned, for instance, the Baffin Fisheries Coalition and the fact that these people would be involved in the fishery but would be competent to operate the vessel as well. That opens up a whole new world.

Recognizing some of the limitations to which Dr. Wheatley referred in terms of people leaving the communities, this is a new type of lifestyle that I am sure Senator Adams will attest is not customary. This takes years to accomplish. We tend to be impatient with these processes, but hopefully this is fruit that has been seeded.

Senator Cochrane: It is what we need, I think. These people have their customs and so on. It would be really important to get the younger ones back into that area so that they can develop whatever industry and prospects for the future that are there. That is my personal feeling.

Dr. Wheatley, I am wondering about the nature of the DFO science in the Arctic. What is your annual budget for science? How many people are engaged in that work? I want to know in dollars and cents, not percentages.

Ms. Wheatley: I do not have the exact number in front of me because my budget comes for the whole of the Central and Arctic Region, which includes a lot of work on the Great Lakes and the Prairies as well.

We are at around 60 staff in the Arctic Aquatic Research Division and another 65 in the Canadian Hydrographic Service. Not all of the hydrographic service staff are working in the Arctic because they also do work on the Great Lakes and fresh water. I would have to break down the hydrographic service budget as to what part was the Arctic and look at the Arctic budget. The way our numbers come, they are not accurate, but I can get the numbers and get back to you.

Senator Cochrane: I would like to know the amount of dollars spent on science. If you could be specific, I would like to have those figures.

Budget 2008 provides $8 million over two years to build a harbour in Pangnirtung. Could you tell us what you can about this major initiative for Pangnirtung, either one of you?

Mr. Hunt: It is in the making, so we, too, are short on details. We know that it was announced in the budget. At this point, one harbour has been approved. In the discussion with Nunavut and in the strategy, they looked at more harbours than that. However, I do not know what deliberation goes into setting the priorities and the decision of one harbour.

Pangnirtung has tended to be — and Senator Adams will correct me if I am wrong — somewhat the centre of the commercial harvest in the Baffin area in particular. There are problems with landings, however. It is quite an arduous venture to off-load and to give full utilization to the plant in Pangnirtung. Certainly, Pangnirtung is the government's initial priority. Senator Adams may have a perspective on that, but that would seem appropriate in this particular instance.

There was a wish for more, but I do not know what the deliberations are that lead to the decision, nor do we know what resources will come with the Pangnirtung development. We are told that we will receive resources as part of the emerging fisheries initiative that you will hear and see more about in coming years and on your trip, but we do not know the extent of those resources until they are received.

Senator Cochrane: Are people excited about it in Pangnirtung?

Mr. Hunt: They are excited about it in Pangnirtung. The Government of Nunavut had hoped for more, though.

Senator Cochrane: We always like to have more anyway.

I just came from a meeting this morning with our Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, which was dealing with Arctic issues. The witness was Dr. Huebert. He only had an hour to spend with us, so I did not get enough time to ask him about this. Perhaps you can help me. This is on gas hydrates, which was the term he used.

Are we investing in research of gas hydrates? Perhaps you can start by explaining to us exactly what gas hydrates are, how they work, and how they are viewed by the scientific community. Is that too much to expect from you? I am sorry.

Mr. Hunt: Frankly, yes. I see a similar set of looks around the table over gas hydrates. If you saw a question mark over my head, you saw it correctly. I am no expert on gas hydrates.

Senator Cochrane: Can Dr. Wheatley answer my question?

Ms. Wheatley: I am not an expert, either. That would be more Natural Resources Canada that would be involved with that as opposed to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. I have heard the term before, but I am not an expert. I am sorry.

Senator Cochrane: The witness only had an hour with us, so I could not ask him about it. I will find out later.

Tell me about climate change. What type of effects have you seen on the marine resources from the results of climate change?

Ms. Wheatley: It takes time to see the effects of climate change. We need to do the studies we are doing now to know what stocks there are, where they are and where they are moving to. That is how we know what is happening as a result of climate change. We are seeing some differences in the ice conditions. That affects, for instance, bowhead whales, which tend to move into ice because that is one place they are protected from killer whales. However, when there is less ice, there is less protection from the killer whales, so there may be more predation from killer whales.

Much of the science we are doing now is to collect that data so that we know what is happening with the ice and to see what might be changing in terms of where the different species are being found, when they are being found there, when the ice is forming, et cetera.

You have seen the information about the ice changes. We are starting to put the data into the system and to model what changes there might be in the Arctic species and, on the hydrography side, to look at tide gauges. However, we need monitoring, annual research and collection of data so that we can be certain about not just what is annual variation but what is changing over time.

Senator Cochrane: You have nothing yet?

Ms. Wheatley: You have seen the information about the ice. The turbot work that we are doing in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, 0A and 0B, started in 1999. Years of research is needed. The Arctic is huge. We cannot necessarily sample every spot every year. For the marine mammals, we do aerial surveys. It is very expensive to do an aerial survey to count bowheads, beluga or narwhal, so we do not do it every year; we do it once every five or ten years. It will take time to show any differences.

This is why it is also important that we do have Inuit traditional knowledge and observations on what is happening and what they see, and when they see differences in movements or changes. When we hear from the communities, it may mean we do research sooner or change where we will do the research.

The Chair: It is not your purview to decide on regions, but it seems to me the committee should reflect on whether there should not be an Arctic region on its own within DFO. There is a lot of territory for to you cover and govern, so to speak. With the future as it is, it might be worthwhile to look at an Arctic region within DFO.

That is not for discussion today. I just wanted to throw it out.

Senator Adams: I would like to put on the record that both of you are familiar with Iqaluit and Nunavut, and I am glad to see you together again.

At the time I was beginning to do a little research on the Nunavut commercial fishing, Mr. Hunt was a director for the DFO in Iqaluit, and we started working together, then all of a sudden he had a new job. I would like to welcome him back. I know their concern about Nunavut.

I was in Rankin Inlet a month ago. Some people who work in Hudson Strait were concerned about the future of shrimp fishing. I know it will go on again this year. Hudson Bay is a big body of water and to cross from Rankin Inlet to James Bay is over 700 miles. You are not quite right up to Hudson Bay; you are only down to Hudson Strait. I see you have the map. Is there some future there with the commercial fishery in Hudson Strait? I know there are quotas for Lake Harbour and Cape Dorset. I think you are still adjusting quotas in shrimp. I was wondering what the future is with cold water shrimp in Hudson Bay or up to Baffin Bay. Have you done any research on that?

Ms. Wheatley: I have not. You are right, there is ongoing research on the shrimp in Hudson Strait. As you may know, there are two different species of shrimp in the North, northern shrimp and striped pink shrimp. Survey work is happening in Hudson Strait between Baffin Island and Northern Quebec. We have not gone into Hudson Bay looking at shrimp, but certainly if we hear from communities that they are finding them, or suggestions are made, that is something we could look at.

As Mr. Hunt mentioned, right now much of the shrimp is being left in the water because the prices are low. Often the driving factor in terms of finding new fisheries is the potential profit that can come from them.

Much of the work we do is through priorities that we hear and receive from our co-management partners, such as the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board. I am not aware of having heard anything concerning shrimp, but certainly, if requested, we would be looking into it.

Senator Adams: Mostly right now you work with the community in Nunavut and the department in Winnipeg. Ottawa, the minister, has more power to decide what you do in the future. Is that true in Nunavut? Do you work with them? How does that work? You have the mammals up there, with the sea and the land, and headquarters in Nunavut. How does it work? Do you still have to go to the minister here in Ottawa to make any decisions?

Mr. Hunt: Let me go to the discussion we had a minute ago about priority setting and so on. Part of the co- management discussion that we had earlier involving the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board and the hunters and trappers associations in some ways grounds the department in local interests, decisions and priorities. As my colleague mentioned, we listen to the board and to the communities as to those priorities. That priority for the suggestion that we look into shrimp is one in a discussion. Someone could also ask, as Senator Meighen asked earlier, to look into aquaculture. We are listening to the priorities of the communities. Aquaculture is not a priority of the communities or the boards. Shrimp in Hudson Bay, at least at this point — and you mentioned Sanikiluaq — has not, and I stand to be corrected, been a priority. Sanikiluaq has not voiced to the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, and in turn they have not brought to us, that shrimp is a priority. If they did, we would be reacting to that and giving it an appropriate level of attention, recognizing that the resources have to be spread quite thinly. That addresses where our priorities come from. It is very much a joint, cooperative, co-management partnership exercise.

I have forgotten your second question.

Senator Adams: I know Arctic char is sometimes called freshwater fish. Sometimes in the summer, it goes to the sea.

Before I came to the Senate, I was with the Northwest Territories Council in 1970. I did that for a couple of years, and I was a director on the board of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation in Winnipeg. Almost every community now has developed a larger population. I know that you monitor some of the rivers and the Arctic char every year, especially where there is commercialization, such as Pangnirtung and Cambridge Bay. There are only two fish plants operating in Nunavut.

Senator Meighen had a very good question. The Fisheries and Oceans Committee went to Nunavik about 10 years ago. Now they have an Arctic char hatching plant in Kuujjuaq. Senator Cook was with us on that trip. Both Senator Cook and I each had a plastic bag containing 2,500 small Arctic char that we released out into the lake. Every year, for 12 months of the year, at the Diana River, the Arctic char travel up to the lake and down to the sea. We would catch them as they were coming down.

While travelling in Canada with the Fisheries and Oceans Committee, we talked to people in B.C. about the hatching of salmon. They told us it had grown up to 95 per cent, the hatching of the fish. However, if it is natural, it is only 7 per cent.

In Rankin Inlet, we have close to 3,000 people. There is really only one lake where we can get the char, and the sea and the lake in the wintertime. We should look at such issues in the future. Scientists say that char up North only grow one inch a year — I am not sure if it is true or not — because of the colder weather. Can you look into that in the future?

Mr. Hunt: Your point is taken; we could certainly look into that. You are absolutely right. Typically, the reason why aquaculture is done in warmer water conditions is because of the growth factor. Things grow faster in warmer water, all within limits, of course. That is why we do not see a move to aquaculture in the North.

In terms of the operation in Northern Quebec, that is governed, for want of a better word, out of the Quebec region. However, I think they are supplementing the natural population with the hatchery population, because, of course, it ensures a certain amount of survival, et cetera.

That is a different type of aquaculture than I thought was being referred to earlier in which we basically stock fish or grow shellfish and so on for market. Those are the differences, but certainly that would be called" "aquaculture," and it is not a bad idea. If it is working in Northern Quebec, it would seem to lend itself to other northern locations. I will take your point, and we will have that discussion.

Senator Adams: Other departments do research in Hudson Bay with the killer whales. They say that the killer whales do not kill the whales; is that true?

Ms. Wheatley: We do have some work that is happening with killer whales. I am not sure what the question is, senator.

Senator Adams: The one department from here in Ottawa does some research, from DFO, but not from your department. Last year they came to us, and I asked them how many whales the killer whales killed every year in Hudson Bay. They told me that killer whales do not kill the whales, that they eat only fish and small mammals, yet we call them killer whales. I know there is no shortage of beluga whales around Hudson Bay. I just wanted to put on the record that the killer whales should perhaps kill the whales.

Mr. Hunt: Certainly, the traditional knowledge would be that killer whales do harass and kill whales, ultimately. I am not sure how much science we have on that particular issue.

I want to address a question that came to mind. You mentioned ministers' decisions. We did not touch on that, so I will very quickly.

I mentioned the co-management regime in which we work with our partners. Picture us, the bureaucrats, working with our co-management partners at the local level, the hunters and trappers associations and the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board. We will, in the case where the minister has the discretion over a decision, work with those people. They, in the land claims scenario, will make a recommendation. They will make a decision. That, in turn, is forwarded to the minister for his decision ultimately.

It is co-managers working with the bureaucracy, if that is the right word, to ultimately forward a decision formally from, for example, the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board to the minister for his ultimate decision.

Senator Hubley: Last year, witnesses from Nunavut stated that the territory did not have the financial resources needed to invest in fisheries science generally. The Nunavut Minister of Economic Development and Transportation asked that the federal government commit to a multi-year program of scientific exploration research in Nunavut waters. Nunavut's Director of Fisheries and Sealing said that Nunavut was paying over 50 per cent of the science and that this was unheard of in Atlantic Canada.

I am wondering if stock assessments and surveys in the Nunavut area are funded differently than elsewhere in Canada. I am also wondering if the funding generally follows areas of scientific study that seem to be better known to people in the South, shall I say. For example, climate change is certainly known to most of us, and, indeed, in the North, we are seeing the most dramatic changes. I am wondering if that would pull funding of scientific studies away from other areas of concern, whether it be the stock assessments or research on different species.

Ms. Wheatley: We have different pots of money; some are used for climate change and that type of research, and some for stock assessment. From those pots of money, and the money that comes to my region is fairly specific for the different areas of research.

In terms of how stock assessment, for instance, is funded, I do not know all the details from other regions, but, certainly, in the work that we have undertaken, we have worked with the co-management boards, for instance, with the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board and with the territorial government to fund the research.

Under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board was given a sum of money. I believe it started out at $11 million, which they invested, and now the interest off that investment provides the funds for research by government. However, that is not just by DFO but includes Environment Canada, Parks Canada and the territorial government on their wildlife research.

We have always received a share of that for various research topics, everything from the turbot surveys to research on bowhead whales, narwhal, beluga, char, et cetera. The territorial government has contributed to our research as well to help ensure that we had the funding we needed to do the research. Significant amounts of funding have been provided by the department as well for that research, remembering that it is a very expensive research program. About six weeks to two months of survey work in 0A and 0B costs over half a million dollars, plus people time. It is a significant chunk of money. That is where we rely on the partnerships we have to fund that.

We focus on the stock assessment. The information on climate change and oceanography is important. You may have seen some of the pictures where they have this big array of bottles that they put this over the side of the ship to take water samples. In some places in the Beaufort Sea, they can go down to 3 kilometres sampling the water at different levels. They can get the temperature and know the water chemistry. From that, they start to know how the water flows are going, where the water is moving, how it is moving in and out of the Arctic and how it is changing over time.

It is important to recognize that this information is just as important to our understanding and estimation of what is a sustainable harvest for these other stocks. Understanding that ecosystem and modelling what will happen if the temperature goes up or if the chemistry changes can have an impact on the marine mammals or on the fish stocks. We have to be able to understand that so that we can give advice on what a sustainable harvest is.

It is important not to think of it being this or that and being completely separate. They all feed into our understanding of the ecosystem and help us make sound science advice.

Senator Hubley: The young people who you would like to see trained to maybe do some of this scientific work, do they all go to southern universities? Is there any opportunity for distance education in the North?

Ms. Wheatley: There is the Nunavut Arctic College. The main campus is in Iqaluit, but there are some courses they can take from that college in other communities in Nunavut. Generally, if they want to finish a diploma program, they need to go to Iqaluit. Sometimes Cambridge Bay or Rankin Inlet might offer it. For most of the university programs that they need, they would have to go south; although there is the University of the Arctic, which is an international program that is developing some courses. Some students have taken courses through that, which are more distance- focused.

More opportunities exist now with the Internet, and development of communications such as broadband and high- speed Internet in the North provides more opportunities for people to gain education from a distance, which makes a huge difference. Perhaps they can do programs where much of it is online, and maybe some short residencies. A lot more universities are taking advantage of that and providing more opportunities.

Senator Comeau: Have you done any assessment on the Beaufort Sea as to whether there would be a potential fishery or commercial fishery?

Ms. Wheatley: Tuktoyaktuk has some test fisheries, but nothing has shown potential commercially; nothing has been looked into at commercial levels. There is some beluga harvesting in that area. Usually it will be a test fishery that a community would run to see what they can find, and if they find the appropriate levels, then we would do a more detailed research.

Senator Comeau: With respect to killer whales, is there such a thing as a harvest of killer whales? Do they just swim around? I imagine no one eats them.

Ms. Wheatley: The killer whales are not harvested for subsistence harvest. They swim around and eat other species.

Senator Comeau: I think New Brunswick and possibly Nova Scotia, I am not sure, have some Arctic char aquaculture. Would that have an impact on the char commercial fishery from the North? For example, if the Arctic char were to get on the market, I have always wondered whether it might have some sort of an impact and whether the taste might damage the Arctic char market.

Mr. Hunt: Presently, a genuine concern has actually been voiced by the Government of Nunavut over their true North strong and free, pure, wild Arctic char product being differentiated from that farmed in the Maritimes and the Yukon, as well as Washington State, I understand. They are clear to differentiate, but I think if you could turn the clock back, they might have been more careful about letting the brood stock, essentially, out of the traditional and natural northern areas in order that these could be cultivated.

It is similar to the difference we notice in salmon, wild versus farmed. Wild salmon tends to fetch a premium and probably tastes better, some may say, but that would be a matter of opinion. I suspect people could and probably do draw similar sorts of analogies to the Arctic char. I notice that the product coming out of the North is very well- marked as being a Northern Nunavut product from the Pangnirtung or Cambridge Bay fish plant and sold very much as the natural product.

Senator Comeau: The horses may not be completely out of the barn just yet, because my understanding is that they would from time to time have to replenish the brood stock. Could not the northern interests close the barn doors and say: No, our stock will stay? Could the southern interests go up there and try to fish clandestinely in the middle of the night to try to get a few more brood stock? I do not know.

Mr. Hunt: I do not know either. It is certainly an issue that bears working out. I know this is a concern of the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Government of Nunavut in terms of competing with their product.

Senator Comeau: With the NWMB being in co-management with DFO, obviously they would have a say about who fishes for brood stock, and they might be able to say, no.

Mr. Hunt: That is right. They would not be able to remove brood stock without some sort of licensing mechanism; and, indeed, we and our co-management partners would be the ones in control of that process.

Senator Comeau: The sudden interest then would not be able to replenish and soon we would have a type of Arctic char raised in the South that would not be replenished with new genes.

Mr. Hunt: I do not know enough about the science of replenishment, whether that rejuvenation is required, and if so, how often.

Senator Comeau: If you start hearing the tune to duelling banjos, you will know it is a problem.

Obviously you have followed the workings of what has been happening over the seal hunt recently. If some of the European interests get their way, it will impact the southern interests but, in the process, definitely impact the northern interests as well.

Is the DFO working with government in the North to try to get our message across to Europe that, yes, we do realize that the Europeans are looking at getting extensions for the Inuit, but it does not smell right if they exempt certain groups? If they stop the southern seal hunt, it will impact on the North as well. What is the status of that, as far as you know?

Mr. Hunt: I know that the territorial government is part of the federal delegation that seeks to have an acceptance of seal products generally. Then, of course, if that is not possible, it seeks this exemption to which you referred for the somewhat traditionally harvested seals from Nunavut in particular.

I am not sure about the most recent progress on that front, but I do know that the Premier of Nunavut is actively working the European fraternity and his friends and neighbours in Europe to seek that exemption. If not, there is the larger acceptance of seal products, at least acceptance of those from Nunavut.

It is a very important aspect of the development strategy in Nunavut, and you will recognize that the economic opportunities are very limited. Anything they do have, they certainly want to hold onto, and they certainly want to develop more. The seal harvest has been a source of income, and it is important that it is accepted and that they can essentially still have that positive and lucrative market.

Senator Comeau: Is the Cumberland Sound turbot stocks to which you referred a different stock than the other stocks? You have it as a separate fishery.

Mr. Hunt: There is a differentiation, and we are managing that as a separate quota and a separate stock. In fact, as I mentioned, we are fishing it differently with the winter longline fishery. We have had almost no success in recent winters as a result of poor ice conditions.

Ms. Wheatley: With respect to the research that was completed there, one of our researchers put tags on the turbot in Cumberland Sound, and none of those tags were found. They were re-caught in Cumberland Sound, but none of them were caught in the offshore fishery. That was part of the determination that it could be managed separately.

That is the way Greenland manages its fjord fishery as well. Part of the thought is that the fish go in when they are small and the source is still the same. They come from the Baffin Bay-Davis Strait area when they are small, but they do not go back.

Senator Robichaud: Some of the quotas at one time for the northern areas, such as region 0B on the map, were given to southern interests because they had created some exploratory fisheries up there. Could that happen again?

Mr. Hunt: With respect to the present activity and the exploratory fishery that I mentioned to you that could potentially arise out of exploratory work that is occurring around Resolute Bay, Arctic Bay and Grise Fiord, the application is from a consortium of northern interests, which are basically the hunters and trappers associations in those communities. That is a good sign, of course, because they will complete the exploratory work.

The concept of historical attachment is something that has typically been respected in terms of colonizing a fishery. Of course, this is at the minister's discretion, but it appears that present work, at least, will be done by Nunavummiut, and we presume this would not be an issue at this particular point in time.

Could that happen again? It is at the minister's discretion, with which I cannot fetter.

Senator Robichaud: I do not want to put you on the spot. It is just the thought that if the Inuit people want to take control of their resources — and I am sure there are pressures being put on all levels of government — that they be given first consideration.

Is there sufficient pressure being put to prevent, let us say, some exploratory company being given interests that have nothing to do with the North?

Mr. Hunt: I do not know of any applications from other interests that want to go into those areas. If you read the text of the memorandum of understanding between the Government of Canada and the Government of Nunavut, if you read the ministerial response to the panel on access and allocation, the indications are that present access would go to Nunavut interests. Again, I do not pretend to speak for the minister, but the existing correspondence points in that direction.

Senator Ethel Cochrane (Deputy Chair) in the chair.

Senator Adams: I recall before you left the DFO in Iqaluit, there was still shellfish on the island. It has sort of died down. There is currently nothing there so far. The place just closed down.

At the time, they had a lot of clams up there. In Nunavut, with the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, what do you think will happen in the future? They currently have 10 Inuit people trained for diving to collect clams. However, I think it has died out.

Mr. Hunt: It has not proved to be economically feasible. The amount of work invested and the analysis required in order to market the product seems to me, and seems to those people who have been employed and involved in it, not to have been worthwhile, at least at that point in time and at that price.

I would like to think that there is an opportunity there. As you mentioned, there is a product there. However, analysis of shellfish is required before it can be marketed and is something that is imposed on that appropriately, I suppose, to assure the health of Canadians and others. The logistics of doing business up there, the volumes available and the regulatory regime have somehow come together to at least slow, if not stop, that activity.

I do know that the locals are still using the product. However, that seems to be something I am not hearing any renewed initiatives about, which I am almost sorry to say.

The Deputy Chair: Mr. Hunt, I am looking at your map on page 8, at regions 0A and 0B. I understand you said earlier that the lucrative turbot industry is bringing in about $55 million. Did you say that?

Mr. Hunt: That would be a number from the Nunavut Fisheries Strategy, the combined value of shrimp and turbot.

The Deputy Chair: The value of both of them?

Mr. Hunt: Yes, that is correct.

The Deputy Chair: Last year, the licensing system was described to the committee as in dire need of reform. Witnesses from Nunavut argued that Nunavut's fishery has been expanding and that licensing needs to reflect this new development.

Would you describe the licensing regime in place for regions 0A and 0B turbot? Does the DFO issue one groundfish licence for the whole of Nunavut? How does that work?

Mr. Hunt: The department indeed issues one groundfish licence to the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board for allocation to all of Nunavut. NWMB, in turn, sub-allocates the amounts to a number of Nunavut interests — notably, the Baffin Fisheries Coalition — and those parties go about fishing that.

The other aspects of the fishery are typically licensed out of the region form which they originate.

For instance, if they are a vessel that is licensed out of the St. John's, Newfoundland office, then so be it. The allocation is similarly given by the St. John's, Newfoundland office. We and the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board handle only the Nunavut allocation, if you will.

The Deputy Chair: Is that a change from last year, or is that the way it always was?

Mr. Hunt: That is the way it has been right from the get-go. The allocation has been to the NWMB. They, in turn, have sub-allocated to Nunavut interests. I know that the panel, in past years, has heard from some other interests that ask for an allocation as well. DFO has responded by saying that they allocated the amount to the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board. As NWMB are allowed to do under the land claim, they are, in turn, giving this allocation to those interests. They decide, not DFO.

The Deputy Chair: There is no change.

We thank you both for being here, Dr. Wheatley and Mr. Hunt. We appreciate your advice to all of us. On behalf of the committee, thank you very much.

The committee adjourned.

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