Quebec reducing 2020 moose quotas in de la Vérendrye reserve

The Quebec government is reducing the sport moose hunt in the réserve faunique La Vérendrye by 30 per cent for 2020 in what it calls a "precautionary measure", but maintains a moratorium is not needed.  

The Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council has been asking Quebec's Forest, Parks and Wildlife Ministry for the moratorium since last summer, saying hunters have seen "steep declines" in the moose population in the reserve over the last several years. 

"The indicators used by the ministère do not show a decrease in moose populations in the réserve faunique La Vérendrye," Dina Desmarais, the ministry's head of media relations wrote in an email to CBC News. The ministry has yet to respond to a follow-up question about what and how old those indicators are. 

Algonquin Anishinabeg Grand Chief Verna Polson says the population data the ministry is using is years out of date. 

"This is a [nutritious] food source our people need." - Verna Polson,  Grand Chief of the Algonquin Anishinabeg

"My understanding is the last time they did a study was 20 years ago," said Polson. "It's so outdated that we need to be part of the decision making now."

CBC

The ministry has announced that it is carrying out an aerial survey of moose in the reserve this winter in collaboration with the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council. 

Desmarais also said the reduction of the sport hunt this winter will help facilitate that survey. 

"The MFFP is sensitive to the concerns expressed by the Algonquin chiefs and shares the same objectives with regard to the importance of ensuring the conservation of the resource and it's sustainability for present and future generations," said Desmarais.

Other measures could be put in place moving forward based on the results of the population survey, she said. 

Last week, the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council issued a press release saying chiefs were disappointed by Quebec's refusal to act on a moratorium and said it will continue to push for one. 

Olivia Stefanovich/CBC

Verna Polson said her officials are cooperating with government officials for the aerial survey. 

"Our nation is ready and willing to work in collaboration," she said. "This is a [nutritious] food source that our people need."