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Population abundance estimate and Potential Biological Removal (PBR) for Atlantic walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) in South and East Hudson Bay

National Peer Review - National Capital Region

October 16-20, 2023

Halifax, NS

Co-Chairs: Sean MacConnachie and Véronique Lesage

Context

Since 2017, the Atlantic Walrus in Canada is considered to consist of three designatable units (DUs). The DU referred to as the Central / Low Arctic population includes animals from South and East Hudson Bay (known as the SEHB stock), from Foxe Basin, and the southeast Baffin Island portion of a stock shared with Greenland (the Hudson Bay-Davis Strait or HBDS stock). The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) first assessed the Central /Low Arctic population as Special Concern in Canada in 2006, and this was reaffirmed in 2017.

A survey conducted in 2014 estimated the number of walrus in the SEHB to be 200 (SE=60). However, the survey did not cover the Hudson Bay arc or James Bay, although walrus have been seen in these areas in the past. A new aerial survey of SEHB walrus, including the Hudson Bay arc and James Bay, was completed in September of 2022.

Walrus from both the SEHB and HBDS stocks are hunted in Nunavik, and consultations are underway regarding the listing of the Central / Low Arctic DU under Schedule 1 of SARA (species of special concern).

Objectives

Estimate the abundance of the SEHB walrus stock and provide the potential biological removal (PBR) level, based on the September 2022 aerial survey.

This newly acquired information on SEHB walrus abundance will also support the Department in meeting requirements for an updated population assessment for this species in Arctic Canadian waters if required under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) import provisions.

Expected Publications

Expected Participation

References

Notice

Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.

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