The Board has developed working groups over the past several years as means of responding to emerging or urgent issues relating to the Yukon’s fish, wildlife, and habitat. These include legislative, regulation, policy, research, and program initiatives.
Read about the working groups below, and in our Annual Report:
This working group began operations in response to the Minister of Environment’s suggestion to establish a working group to investigate the use of regulation to move toward barbless hooks in the Yukon. This was reviewed and set aside by the Board in 2014 and the working group has since explored other regulatory options to address diminishing fish stocks in lakes across the Yukon. In particular, it was observed that lake trout in the Yukon with genetically distinct populations such as “small lake trout” are not adequately protected under the current slot limits. Therefore, the working group, amongst the other initiatives will be exploring ways to protect these populations of lake trout which are susceptible to overharvest. The results of this working group will be advanced to the Minister in 2016-2017.
This working group manages the production of the Board’s annual calendar. This is a key communications piece for the Board, which we create in partnership with the Yukon Government Department of Environment, the Yukon Salmon Sub-committee and the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Trust. The calendar communicates success stories and educational information about fish and wildlife in Yukon, provides wildlife harvest date reminders, and supports the Department’s TIPPS program. The working group is also responsible for implementation of the Board’s communications strategy, including social media and website development and maintenance.
FISH AND FISH HABITAT
This working group finalized its work with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on the Fisheries Act Policy Discussion Paper public review, and successfully advanced recommendations to the Minister of Environment at the beginning of the fiscal year. In correspondence with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, we drew upon 16.7.16 of the Umbrella Final Agreement to frame the requirement for that minister to consult with the Board on any amendments or introduction of legislation for fish and wildlife in the Yukon. The Board also advanced regulations relating to the Aquaculture component of the Fisheries Act Review in 2016 and changes to the Fisheries Act are again upon the Board in 2016 and will be addressed at the later part of the year.
This working group responded to the Ministers recent request to the Board to review license fees across the Yukon and submitted recommendations in 2014. This working group was responsible for a review of the current licensing system and provided recommendations to the Department of Environment on potential upcoming regulation changes that could improve wildlife management. Special Guiding (a subset of the License Hunting Working Group) advanced recommendations to include the addition of Bison to the list of animals that can be harvested through a special guide permit, and options to improve Special Guiding through a lottery system.
POLICY, REGULATION, AND LEGISLATION
This working group addressed legislative, policy and regulatory changes presented to the Board including (but not limited to) Yukon Wildlife Act regulation changes. Regulation changes under the Yukon Wildlife Act can be found in the following section, pages 8-15
ALEX VAN BIBBER SHARING THE LAND SCHOLARSHIP
This working group facilitated the screening and selection of the Board’s “Sharing the Land” Scholarship winner. This scholarship was re-named in 2014 as the Alex Van Bibber Sharing the Land Scholarship, to honour an extraordinary Yukoner who deeply respected the land, fish, and wildlife, and who shared his respect and knowledge with all those who knew him. This working group reviews essays, acceptance letters and transcripts from applicants and subsequently awards the scholarship on an annual basis. Two scholarships of $1000 each are now awarded in Alex’s memory.
The working group successfully facilitated initiatives that helped revitalize the Yukon’s Trapping Industry. We worked with the Department of Economic Development and the Department of Environment along with the Yukon Trappers Association, the Yukon Outfitters Association, and First Nation Governments. Objectives of this working group included the administration of funds received from Economic Development for offsetting Auction House Fees in phase one, and fur handling assessment, training and quality bonus’ for phase 2 of this project. Yukon Economic Development provided funding to the Board in early 2015 to enhance the long term productivity of the Yukon’s trapping industry and phase one was completed in late 2015. Phase 2 will be finalized in late 2016.
YUKON FISH AND WILDLIFE ENHANCEMENT TRUST
The Trust working group is responsible for administration of the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Trust as well as asset management and contractor administration. In addition, members undertake the technical review of projects submitted in the Trust’s call for proposals.
This working group addressed matters of Off Road Vehicles, Class I Mining Activities, forestry, mining, hydrological projects in the Yukon (Yukon Energy’s Next Generation Hydro), and access management. In 2015/2016 the Working Group remained involved in the Off Road Vehicle Legislative Review and the development of the Southern Lakes Forest Management Plan along with potential habitat enhancement work being proposed by the Department of Environment.
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT PLANS
Working group members attended meetings involving wildlife management plans such as elk and bison through the Bison Technical Team. The Management Plan for Elk in Yukon was completed and recommended to the Minister of Environment in November 2015 and the Board remained involved in elk management issues particularly those surrounding elk and agriculture conflicts. The Grizzly Bear Conservation and Management Plan working group has been engaging with RRCs and First Nation governments on grizzly bear issues, in anticipation of drafting a management plan in early 2017.