Research Document - 2010/022

Stock definition of belugas and narwhals in Nunavut

By P.R. Richard

Abstract

This document provides information relevant to the definition of stocks of belugas and narwhals in Nunavut in response to a request from the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board. There is good evidence of seasonal geographic segregation between Nunavut beluga stocks, and even year-round in many cases. There is also good evidence of genetic, contaminant and morphological differences between many of them. Evidence for narwhal segregation between stocks is largely from tracking data, although some genetic and contaminant also hints at some degree of geographical partitioning. For hunting communities that rely on a predictable seasonal occurrence of animals for their subsistence, reducing chances of local depletion by hunting multiple stocks as suggested by present information is an appropriate approach to co-management.

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