Bluenose-East Caribou (Photo:  GNWT / B. Tracz, ENR) Bluenose-East Caribou (Photo: GNWT / B. Tracz, ENR)

ACCWM Meeting on Cape Bathurst, Bluenose-West and Bluenose-East Caribou Herds’ Status and Management Actions

WRRB Chair Grant Pryznyk and Executive Director Jody Pellissey travelled to Inuvik to attend the Advisory Committee for Cooperation on Wildlife Management (ACCWM) annual status meeting on November 29-December 1, 2016.  The goal of the meeting was to discuss and determine herd status and management actions for the Cape Bathurst, Bluenose-West, and Bluenose-East caribou herds, a requirement that is set out in the Taking Care of Caribou management plan. 

The ACCWM must meet once a year to review current information from community monitoring and science on each of the caribou herds and their habitat --the Cape Bathurst, Bluenose-West, and Bluenose-East caribou--and determine its status, represented by a management colour zone.  The ACCWM also recommends management actions for the following year. 

Deciding which actions to take and when depends on how a particular herd is doing.  To assess a herd’s status, the ACCWM considers factors such as herd size and trend (i.e. whether the herd is increasing or decreasing), the body condition and health of the caribou, and the availability of the plants that caribou eat.  Each herd status or colour zone has recommended management actions related to harvest management, predators, land use, habitat, and education. 

The recommendations made at this year’s meeting will now be taken to the Member Boards of the ACCWM to determine whether they support the recommended status and management actions.  Following formal approval by all the Member Boards, the ACCWM will submit updated Action Plans for the Bluenose herds to governments for implementation. 

Fact Box:  Taking Care of Caribou Management Plan

  • The Taking Care of Caribou:  The Cape Bathurst, Bluenose-West, and Bluenose-East Barren-ground Caribou Herds Management Plan was developed by the ACCWM to address long-term management and stewardship of the Bluenose caribou herds. 
  • The GNWT accepted the management plan as a guiding document for the management of the Bluenose herds in the NWT in June 2015.
  • The management goals are to maintain herds within the known natural range of variation, conserve and manage caribou habitat, and ensure that harvesting is respectful and sustainable.
  • In January 2016, the ACCWM assessed the Cape Bathurst herd as Red status (low population level) and both the Bluenose-West and Bluenose-East herds as Orange status (intermediate population level and decreasing).  

Fact Box:Advisory Committee for Cooperation on Wildlife Management (ACCWM)

  • The ACCWM was established to share information and coordinate wildlife management for shared species, particularly species that cross land claim and treaty area boundaries.
  • The WRRB is a Member Board, along with the Wildlife Management Advisory Council (NWT), Gwich’in Renewable Resources Board (GRRB), Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı (Sahtú Renewable Resources Board), Kitikmeot Regional Wildlife Board, and Tuktut Nogait National Park Management Board.