No sooner had the Inuit gained a foothold for seal products in the Chinese market than Fisheries and Oceans Canada slapped a ban on the export of tusks and other narwhal products from 17 Inuit communities.
Now Nunavut Tunngavik Inc, the Inuit land-claims organization, will appeal the decision in court, claiming the ban violates the Nunavut land claims agreement, president Cathy Towtongie said in a statement.
“DFO does not have the right to make such a decision without consulting Inuit and respecting the process established in the NLCA,” Towtongie said. “In NTI’s view, DFO has based their decision on questionable data. DFO’s research shows the population is thriving, and harvest numbers do not threaten the species.”
At issue is DFO’s failure to consult Inuit groups before issuing the decision, which “deprived Inuit of the opportunity to respond and make submissions on a matter that directly affected their interests,” the NTI application to the courts states, according to the Nunatsiaq News.
The DFO said that some narwhal populations are at risk and the ban is needed to comply with the terms of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the Nunatsiaq News reported.