Research Document - 2012/037

Results of narwhal (Monodon monoceros) aerial surveys in northern Hudson Bay, August 2011

By N.C. Asselin, S.H. Ferguson, P.R. Richard, and D.G. Barber

Abstract

Aerial surveys were conducted 4- 17 August 2011 to estimate the abundance of the Northern Hudson Bay (NHB) narwhal population. The survey was designed to use visual observations and aerial photographs to cover the entire summering range of the NHB narwhal population based on published sources and information from Repulse Bay’s Arviq Hunters and Trappers Organization. After preliminary surveying, the final survey design was stratified according to observed narwhal densities and ice conditions. The final survey occurred 14-17 August covering Repulse Bay, Frozen Strait, Wager Bay,  Roes Welcome Sound, Lyon Inlet, Gore Bay  and parts of Foxe Channel and yielded an estimate of 12,485 (CV=0.26) narwhals. The current population abundance estimate was used with the Potential Biological Removal (PBR) method to calculate a new Total Allowable Landed Catch (TALC) for the Northern Hudson Bay narwhal stock of 157 narwhals.

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