April 2, 2004
Minister expresses grave concern over illegal caribou hunt
Natural Resources Minister Ed Byrne today expressed grave concern over the illegal hunting of caribou by numerous Quebec-based members of la Nation des Innus du Nitassinan (NIN) at Cache River in Labrador. Minister Byrne is calling upon the hunters to immediately stop this activity in the area of the Red Wine herd which is a threatened herd under the Endangered Species Act.
Minister Byrne said the area of the illegal hunt is closed to caribou hunting to ensure the threatened Red Wine herd is not further diminished. "The most recent count of the herd shows less than 100 animals. Any further loss of animals for this herd could lead to its extinction," said the minister.
"I understand that the Quebec Innu chiefs are requesting a meeting with government ministers. Let me assure them that we will not consider a meeting while this illegal slaughter continues," said Minister Byrne. "I call upon the people in the Cache River area to immediately halt hunting in the name of conservation. If they wish to pursue caribou hunting, I ask them to move to areas that are open for hunting and not occupied by threatened herds. There are ample opportunities for subsistence harvesting outside the closed zones."
Minister Byrne is also calling upon environmental and aboriginal organizations to appeal to the hunters to stop this senseless hunting activity. Appeals may be made to the Innu Takuaikan Uashat mak Mani-Utenam in Quebec, by calling (418) 968-2266 or faxing (418) 968-9619.
Media contact: Tony Marx, Communications, (709) 729-6153
2004 04 02 3:25 p.m.