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Caribou Resource Committee Established to Bring Stakeholder Perspective to the Table

by NationTalk on September 8, 2009972 Views

Environment and Conservation
Tourism, Culture and Recreation
September 8, 2009

The Provincial Government has established a Caribou Resource Committee (CRC) to participate in the implementation of the five-year, $15.3 million caribou strategy announced in February 2008. The committee will act as a two-way conduit taking information from the committee to the respective stakeholder groups, while also providing a means for these groups to be directly engaged in the work of the strategy.The members of the committee are as follows: Sheila Robinson, Aboriginal Women’s Network; Brad Leyte, Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Federation; Bruce Porter, Notre Dame Rod and Gun Club; Wayne Holloway, Newfoundland and Labrador Outfitters Association; Ross Firth, Department of Environment and Conservation; Barbara Case, Rural Secretariat; Mary Taylor-Ash, Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation; Dr. David Schneider, Caribou Strategy Academic Team; Ken White, Newfoundland and Labrador Trappers Association; Dr. Wade Bowers, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College; and Keith Deering, Department of Natural Resources. The committee is chaired by Shane Mahoney from the Department of Environment and Conservation.

“The Caribou Resource Committee will help ensure the participation of associated government departments, the outfitting and trapping industry, resident hunters and other interested groups which are impacted by or have a contributory role in the overall caribou strategy,” said the Honourable Charlene Johnson, Minister of Environment and Conservation. “A number of stakeholders indicated their interest in a formal mechanism to provide input into the implementation of the strategy, and the new committee will provide such an opportunity.”

The caribou strategy was announced in response to the decline in the woodland caribou populations on the Island of Newfoundland. From an estimated peak of more than 96,000 caribou in 1996, the current population is estimated at just over 32,000, representing a decrease of more than 60 per cent. As a result, the Provincial Government provided funding to carry out a five-year scientific and management strategy which builds upon earlier efforts to better understand and mitigate the current decline in woodland caribou numbers and the role of predators in this decline.

Following the first meeting, the minister said that it is evident that the concerns of the various stakeholders and regional interests are adequately represented on the committee.

“The committee is representative of the various interest groups throughout the province, and these volunteers certainly articulated very valuable information around the table last week during their inaugural meeting,” said Minister Johnson. “The caribou strategy has implications for rural regions of the province, both in terms of outfitting and the hunting public. The caribou herds are an important resource to the rural population of Newfoundland and Labrador and have a wide range of economic, recreational and heritage values, and the feedback from this committee is crucial to ensuring that all of these viewpoints are brought to the forefront.”

The Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, said the decline of the woodland caribou population has certainly been felt in the province’s outfitting industry.

“The caribou stocks have declined substantially, and we cannot ignore that reality,” Minister Jackman said. “However, with the implementation of a caribou strategy – based on sound scientific research and information – we intend to protect the long-term viability of Newfoundland and Labrador’s big game hunting industry, which provides much-needed employment and generates significant economic activity, particularly in rural regions of the province.”

The first committee meeting focused on such topics as the mandate and scope of the committee, basic biology and ecology of caribou, overview of the caribou strategy, and the accomplishments that have been realized to date since the announcement of the strategy in February 2008.

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Media contacts:
Melony O’Neill
Director of Communications
Department of Environment and Conservation
709-729-2575, 689-0928

Heather May
Director of Communications
Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation
709-729-0928, 697-5061

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