Science Advisory Report 2009/079
Stock definition of Belugas and Narwhals in Nunavut
- There is good evidence that Nunavut belugas are segregated geographically on a seasonal basis and, in many cases, year-round. There is also good evidence of genetic, contaminant and morphological differences between many of these beluga stocks.
- Six stocks of belugas potentially occur in Nunavut waters: Eastern Beaufort Sea, Eastern High Arctic-Baffin Bay, Cumberland Sound, Western-Northern-Southern Hudson Bay, James Bay and Eastern Hudson Bay.
- Evidence for narwhal segregation between stocks is largely based on tracking data, although some genetic and contaminant analyses also suggest some degree of geographical partitioning.
- Five stocks of narwhals occur in Nunavut waters: Somerset Island, Admiralty Inlet, Eclipse Sound, East Baffin Island, Northern Hudson Bay
- Managing harvest based on stocks reduces the potential for local depletions.
- Using current stock information is an appropriate and precautionary approach to co-management particularly for hunting communities that rely on a predictable seasonal occurrence of animals for their subsistence harvest.
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