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The NWMB Allocation Policy for Commercial Marine Fisheries (Allocation Policy) sets out an open and transparent process with clear principles and guidelines for fairly determining individual commercial fisheries allocations for Nunavut-based harvesters in the waters adjacent to Nunavut. The Allocation Policy ties continued access and allocations to performance goals and targets. Since 2007 it has established Nunavut in a leading edge position in terms of Canadian fisheries policy. The main objective of the Allocation Policy is:

“To facilitate a co-operative, professional and diversified approach to ecosystem-based fisheries development, maintaining compliance with the principles of conservation, relying upon re-investment in the fishery by Nunavut fishers, and ensuring the wide distribution of tangible benefits to Nunavummiut.”

The Allocation Policy does not apply to non-commercial harvests or to the commercial harvest of freshwater or anadromous fish, such as arctic char.


Applying for Nunavut Commercial Fisheries Allocations

Notice is provided on June 12th 2015 that the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board (NWMB) is accepting applications for annual commercial allocations of Greenland halibut (turbot) in NAFO Divisions 0A and 0B and shrimp inside and outside the Nunavut Settlement Area, pursuant to the NWMB Allocation Policy for Commercial Marine Fisheries (Allocation Policy).

In order to request an allocation in a fishery, an applicant must complete an “Application Form for Commercial Marine Fisheries Allocation” (Application Form), and submit a detailed “Governance, Business, Benefits and Stewardship Plan” (Plan) to the NWMB. The Application Form, Plan template and details regarding the application process are contained in the Allocation Policy. To be considered for annual allocations for the next five-year term (2016/17 to 2020/2021 fishing seasons), the Application Form and Plan must be delivered in person, by courier or by mail to the NWMB’s Iqaluit office, by close of business on July 27th 2015. Applications received after that date will not be considered. Delivery of applications may also be made through fax or electronic transmission, but only if your organization confirms by phone with the NWMB – prior to the filing deadline – that a complete and legible copy of the transmission has been received. Pursuant to the cumulative point system set out in its Allocation Policy, the NWMB will carefully rank all applications received, and will make its resulting recommendations and decisions accordingly.

For further information regarding the NWMB’s Allocation Policy, or to obtain a copy of the Allocation Policy and/or the Application Form, please visit the NWMB’s website (www.nwmb.com) or contact the NWMB at the following coordinates:


3rd Floor, Ikaluktuutiak Drive

P.O. Box 1379, Iqaluit, NU, X0A 0H0

Phone: 867-975-7300

Fax: 1-888-421-9832

E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The Role of the NWMB in Nunavut’s Commercial Marine Fisheries

Inside the Nunavut Settlement Area (NSA)

 “Recognizing that Government retains ultimate responsibility for wildlife management, the NWMB shall be the main instrument of wildlife management in the Nunavut Settlement Area and the main regulator of access to wildlife and have the primary responsibility in relation thereto in the manner described in the Agreement”

With respect to commercial marine fisheries, the NWMB has extensive decision-making jurisdiction in the marine waters of the NSA – those waters directly adjacent to Nunavut and extending to the 12-mile limit of Canada’s Territorial Sea boundary (NLCA, Article 3). That decision-making jurisdiction is shared with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, is subject to the terms and conditions of the NLCA, and includes the authority to:

  • Establish, modify or remove levels of total allowable harvest (TAH) or harvesting (NLCA S 5.6.16);
  • Determine the allocation of the commercial portion of any TAH (NLCA S 5.6.31); and
  • Establish, modify or remove non-quota limitations – such as limitations on gear type and season of harvest (NLCA S 5.6.48).

Outside the Nunavut Settlement Area

With respect to commercial marine fisheries, the NWMB exercises an extensive advisory jurisdiction in Zones I and II. To the east of the NSA is Zone I – those adjacent marine areas of Baffin Bay and Davis Strait seaward of the Territorial Sea boundary, subject to Canada’s jurisdiction and not part of another land claim settlement area. To the south is Zone II – those waters of James Bay, Hudson Bay and Hudson Strait not part of the NSA or another land claim settlement area (NLCA S 1.1.1). That advisory jurisdiction is subject to the terms and conditions of the NLCA and includes the authority to:

  • Provide relevant information to Government that would assist in wildlife management beyond the marine areas of the NSA (NLCA S 15.3.4);
  • Provide requested advice with respect to any wildlife management decisions by Government which would affect the substance and value of Inuit harvesting rights and opportunities within the marine areas of the NSA (NLCA S 15.3.4);
  • Provide advice and recommendations to Government with respect to Government’s responsibilities (i) to recognize the importance of the principles of adjacency and economic dependence of communities in the NSA on marine resources, and (ii) to give special consideration to those factors when allocating commercial fishing licences within Zones I and II (NLCA S 15.3.7); and
  • Advise and make recommendations regarding the marine areas of the NSA, which Government must consider in making decisions that affect those marine areas (NLCA S 15.4.1).

Following consultations with the NWMB and others, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans determines the territory’s regional allocations of offshore fisheries resources. The NWMB then recommends individual commercial allocations to Nunavut’s fishers. This arrangement is in keeping with the Department’s 2004 Policy Framework for the Management of Fisheries on Canada’s Atlantic Coast - that decisions which relate to the management of specific fisheries will normally be made as close to those fisheries as possible.

Principles Guiding the NWMB’s Allocation Policy for Nunavut’s Commercial Marine Fisheries

Complementing the governing principles of NLCA Article 5 (NLCA S 5.1.2 and 5.1.5) and the instructions set out in the NLCA for commercial allocations within the NSA (NLCA S 5.6.31, 5.6.38 to 5.6.40, and 5.6.45 to 5.6.47) are the following principles, which guide the NWMB in its allocation of commercial marine fisheries resources:

  1. The protection of healthy marine populations and habitat through sustainable development, and responsible stewardship is essential to sustain the economic, social and cultural harvesting needs of Nunavummiut, for both present and future generations (NLCA S 5.1.5(c));
  2. The fishery is a valuable and vital common property resource to be managed in an open, transparent and accountable manner for the equitable benefit of all Nunavummiut;
  3. There is a need for the fishery to be diversified, striking a healthy balance between inshore and offshore operations, and between community entitlements and entrepreneurial initiative;
  4. In order to achieve a prosperous Nunavut-controlled fishery, there is a need for people to work together in harmony;
  5. In allocating commercial marine fisheries resources, preference needs to be given to Nunavummiut and to operations providing direct benefits to Nunavut’s economy (NLCA S 5.6.45);
  6. There is a need to give special consideration to adjacency in the allocation of commercial marine fisheries resources, particularly within the NSA (NLCA S 15.3.7);
  7. In allocating commercial marine fisheries resources, there is a need to give special consideration to the economic dependence of communities on those resources (NLCA S 15.3.7);
  8. A prosperous Nunavut-controlled fishery requires substantial involvement of viable commercial ventures sponsored or owned by Regional Wildlife Organizations (RWOs) and Hunters and Trappers Organizations (HTOs) (NLCA S 5.1.3(a)(iii) and 5.6.39);
  9. In allocating commercial marine fisheries resources, there is a need to give special consideration to economically viable fishing enterprises and to fishers that have a successful history in a particular fishery; and
  10. A prosperous Nunavut fishery that contributes to the creation of wealth, employment, training and educational opportunities for Nunavummiut requires substantial re-investment of revenues received from one of Nunavut’s most valuable common property resources.

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