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Quebec Bulletin
April - May 2013/Volume 16/Number 2

Impressive Ivory Seizure

Walruses on Walrus Island in Hudson Bay
DFO L. Cannon
Walruses on Walrus Island in Hudson Bay

In February, a team of fishery officers dedicated to the protection and conservation of Northern Quebec resources seized narwhal and walrus ivory in the areas of Montreal and Eastern Quebec. Narwhal and walrus are listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which Canada has signed. One of the key objectives of the Convention is to control the ivory trade.

For several years, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has been increasing its presence in Nunavik and the James Bay area. Under land claims agreements between the Inuit (NILCA), the Cree (Eyou Etchee) and the Government of Canada, the Department is responsible for monitoring marine mammal hunting.

Seized tusks

In these areas, northern beluga whale hunting for food is the most demanding monitoring activity for our officers. However, the diversity of northern marine mammal species forces officers to be vigilant at all times.

It was during inspections of ivory traders that officers discovered that tusks were being trafficked. To date, four walrus and five narwhal tusks have been seized. The black market value of the narwhal tusks is estimated at $28,000, and that of the walrus tusks at $5,000.

This ongoing investigation depends on the exemplary perseverance, professionalism and efficiency of fishery officers to ensure the protection and conservation of these areas.

Marcel-M. Boudreau and John Chouinard
Fisheries Management

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