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Meeting of the National Marine Mammal Peer Review Committee (NMMPRC): 2010 Admiralty Inlet Narwhal Survey

Zonal Advisory Meeting – National Capital and Central and Arctic Regions

March 30, 2011
WebEx and Teleconference

Chairperson: Don Bowen

Also available in Inuktitut / Inuktitut Atuinnaummijuq (PDF, 2 pages, 73KB)


The Admiralty Inlet narwhal stock is considered one of four known summering stocks of the much larger Baffin Bay narwhal population. Aerial surveys in 1984 estimated about 15,000 narwhals in the Admiralty Inlet summering stock. The most recent surveys in 2003-2004 estimated about 5,400 narwhals (1,900 – 12,000) suggesting a substantial decline. These surveys may have been biased by poor weather and clumped animal distribution and a new population estimate is needed to determine whether the Admiralty Inlet stock has declined, or whether the abundance estimate from 2003-2004 was biased.

In its 2005 narwhal status report, the Scientific Working Group of the Canada-Greenland Joint Commission on Conservation and Management of Narwhal and Beluga (JCNB) expressed concern about the sustainability of catches from the Admiralty Inlet narwhal stock. These concerns were largely based on a reduced abundance estimate compared to that of the 1980s, as well as risk modelling that suggested future narwhal declines in all scenarios considered.

Central and Arctic Fisheries Management requested a current abundance estimate and sustainable harvest level for Admiralty Inlet narwhals. A new survey was conducted in the summer of 2010.


To review the results of the 2010 aerial survey analysis and the abundance estimated for the Admiralty Inlet narwhal summering stock. Based on the abundance estimate, determine an updated sustainable harvest level (total allowable landed catch) for the summering stock. The meeting will not include management discussions about harvest allocations.

Expected Publications

Scientific advice resulting from this meeting will be published as a Science Advisory Report and the working paper reviewed at the meeting, which provides the support for the advice, will be published as a Research Document. A Proceedings report that summarizes the discussions of the participants will also be produced. These documents will be published on the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) website.


DFO Oceans & Science, DFO Ecosystems & Fisheries Management, the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, the Qikiqtaalik Wildlife Board, the Arctic Bay Hunters and Trappers Organisation, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., and external scientists/experts will be invited to participate in this science advisory meeting.


Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.

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