Aishihik Wood Bison Herd Management Plan
Public Review - The Draft Management Plan (4.4MB PDF) is a guide to manage the Aishihik Wood Bison Herd and address local concerns and interests.
Yukon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan
The Yukon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan (YWCMP) 2012 is part of the Government of Yukon’s ongoing commitment to promote the sustainable use of wildlife resources. It is intended to guide wolf conservation and management throughout Yukon, ensuring that the roles of wolves and their prey species are respected. The Yukon government issued a news release with highlights from the plan.
The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board (YFWMB) and the Yukon government agreed in 2010 to jointly conduct a comprehensive review of the original 1992 plan. Over the course of 2011, the YWCMP review committee held 14 community meetings, a workshop with Yukon First Nations, a workshop with wildlife management boards and councils, and a public review of a draft plan.
The committee reviewed 42 written submissions as well as the latest research in wolf and ungulate management. It submitted the Recommended Wolf Conservation and Management Plan to the Environment Minister and YFWMB chair in July 2011. The YFWMB recommended the plan to the Yukon government in December 2011, and it was formally approved in May 2012.
As part of its mandate "to act in the public interest" for the benefit of Yukon fish and wildlife and their habitat, the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board (YFWMB), in partnership with the RRC’s and the Yukon Salmon Sub Committee, wished to provide long range strategic advice and recommendations to the responsible governments (Yukon Government, First Nations and Canada) on the management of Yukon’s fish and wildlife resources. From our perspective the single most important aspect of this was to learn what Yukon residents think about the current state of these resources and what their vision is for the future.
Therefore over a three month period, from November 2008 to January 2009, the YFWMB engaged Yukoners from all cultures and all walks of life, young & old, male & female to hear the opinions and views of the Yukon people. Visit our 2020 Vision page to learn about this initiative, and to download the 20:20 Yukon-Wide Telephone Survey Report.
Northern Mountain Caribou Management Plan
The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board has undertaken the role of Outreach and Communication for the Northern Mountain Caribou Management planning process. For details on the process, background information and developments, visit: Northern Mountain Caribou Management Plan
Stengthening RRC Relationships
The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board will work towards developing a stronger relationship with Renewable Resources Councils and strive to find ways to assist them through increased communication, training and issue coordination.
Since the settlement of land claims, nine Renewable Resources Councils have been established. These councils are responsible for dealing with local management issues and often the issues RRCs and the YFWMB work on are closely linked. There are many ways the YFWMB and the RRCs can learn from each other and issues we can support each other on.
The YFWMB hosts an annual RRC Chairs Meeting, which allows the RRCs a chance to update the Board on current activities and initiatives. Additionally, the YFWMB also plays a role in organizing the annual RRC workshop.
The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board will strive to enhance public awareness of Board activities and develop strong public education tools to foster a broad understanding of Yukon fish, wildlife and habitat issues.
Communication is an important focus of the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board. If the Yukon public is well informed on fish and wildlife issues, it is easier for the Board to conduct public consultations and ensure that it is representing public interest in its recommendations. In order to enhance communication approaches, the Board developed a general communications strategy (with the assistance of Aileen Horler - Wild About Communications).
The Board uses radio ads, posters, pamphlets, and our annual report as our primary communications tools. Finally, the Board develops its own calendar each year with the aim of generating interest in and support for good conservation and stewardship of fish wildlife and habitat.
Forty Mile Caribou
The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board is committed to ensuring the expansion of the Forty-Mile Caribou Herd into its former Yukon range.
At the turn of the century, the Forty-Mile Caribou Herd was estimated to have a population of almost 600,000 animals and ranged throughout central Alaska and much of the central and southern Yukon. By the 1970s, over harvest, poor weather and predation had reduced the herd to about 5,000 animals. Between 1970 and 1990 the herd recovered to about 20 000 animals, but the herd growth stalled despite the fact that other herds were increasing and growing conditions were excellent. A planning team comprised of Alaskan and Yukon representatives – including the YFWMB – was established in 1995 to come up with possible ways of increasing the herd’s size
The team developed a recovery plan which the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board presented to the Alaska Board of Game. Regulations were implemented in Alaska to enable the recovery program. The herd has been steadily increasing in size and in 2003 it achieved one of the major goals of the recovery program by crossing the Yukon River.
In 2003 the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board (YFWMB) established a working group to explore the issues surrounding the use of off road vehicles in the Yukon. The working group led public consultations, surveys and discussion groups to determine if and where problems exist, the extent of the problems and attempted to seek out potential avenues for managing the issue.
Individuals as well as many organizations and First Nations raised concerns about the use and management of off road vehicles throughout the Yukon. The Working Group on Off-Road Vehicles determined that there was a need to address these concerns while taking into account the comments that were made during the public consultation. The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board agreed that the Working Group should continue to look at this issue. The publication Down the Road: the Effects of Roads and Trails on Wildlife (11.5MB pdf) was produced in 2003.
Research was conducted by a Yukon graduate student (Rob Yeomans) in response to the public’s desire to focus on low impact education as a way to manage the problem. Rob's thesis was published in 2006, and can be viewed here.
Section 126.96.36.199 of the Umbrella Final Agreement mandates the Fish and Wildlife Management Board, “to preserve and enhance the renewable resources economy.” The Board therefore seeks to preserve and enhance the trapping industry. Trapping is a significant component of life for many Yukoners. In 1996, the Yukon government conducted a trapping survey to try to understand the current status of the industry. They found:
· 40% of trappers consider themselves full-time
· 50% of trappers see it as a way of life
· 20% of trappers make over half of their winter income from trapping
· trapping is seen as an important economic generator during the slow winter season
· furs also play an important part in the Yukon’s crafts and growing fashion industry
The Board’s Trapping Working Group is comprised of Renewable Resource Councils, the Yukon Trappers Association, the Yukon Government’s Department of Environment, the Yukon Arts and Design Association, and the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board. The group meets several times a year to plan and develop projects that will enhance the industry.
The group developed Phase One of a Comprehensive Fur Strategy for the Yukon fur industry in March 2005. The group is currently attempting to secure funding to complete phase two and three of the strategy.
Yukon Wildlife Act Regulation Changes
Every year, the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board provides public input to governments on legislation or regulations that affect fish and wildlife resources. The Board provides these comments based on information from public consultations and research. Click here for more information on the Regulation Change Process and Cycles. To download a copy of the most recent Proposed Regulation Changes, click here.
Yukon Community Stewardship Program
The Yukon Community Stewardship Program (YCSP) was administered by the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board between 2003 and 2008. The YCSP goal was to increase the motivation and ability of Yukoners to engage in the conservation and stewardship of our lands, waters, and living resources. In March 2008, funding for the YCSP ended, suspending the program until it can be restructured and permanent funding secured. If you are interested in becoming a future funding partner for this program, please contact us.
Draft Elk Management Strategy
The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board assisted in the Yukon Government process of drafting a Yukon Elk Management Strategy, and holding public consultations in 2007. Download a copy of this Draft Strategy here.
Moose Harvest Management
Working with governments, special interest groups and Renewable Resources Councils, the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board will develop recommendations for a new moose harvest management system that meets the needs of wildlife managers and all Yukon hunters.
The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board established a moose harvest management working group in early 2000 to develop a clear and consistent framework for moose harvest management and regulation for the territory. Using information gathered at a stakeholder workshop and through the working group, a discussion paper was developed and distributed to all Yukon communities over the summer and fall of 2001. The working group then organized public meetings in November 2001 throughout the Yukon. The feedback received at these meetings was compiled into a final report and provided the basis for the working group to develop draft recommendations. The working group presented these recommendations to the Board in April 2002 for approval. The Board's final recommendations on Moose Harvest Management were presented to the Minister shortly thereafter. These recommendations can be found in: Moose Harvest Management Recommendations
In April 2002, a new Yukon Wildlife Act came into affect. This updated Act addressed some of the issues that had been creating problems related to enforcement and administration. One of these issues was a court decision that found conditions on sundry permits could not be enforced if they were not backed up in regulation. As a result, in May of 2002 YG released a discussion paper outlining the various activities to be considered and invited stakeholders and the public to comment. Based on this input and other research, YG’s Department of Environment drafted several regulation proposals for activities related to wildlife in captivity.
In the fall of 2002 the Yukon Government proposed several regulation changes that would affect the keeping of wildlife in captivity. The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board reviewed these proposals in October 2002, and developed a discussion paper for public comment. The YFWMB held meetings in several Yukon communities throughout November 2002 and held a large public meeting in Whitehorse in early December 2002.
The proposed regulations covered the following activities: wildlife viewing facilities; fur farms; falconry; wildlife as pets; sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife; and imports and exports of wildlife. The proposed wildlife in captivity regulations did not include game farming of elk, bison or muskox, which already operate under its own set of regulations.
The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board conducted a public review of these proposals, and received an unprecedented number of responses to the proposed changes. The YFWMB worked extensively with the Department of Environment, Renewable Resource Councils, First Nations and the Yukon public, to draft recommendations on the Government's proposed Captive Wildlife Regulations. The YFWMB deliberated on the issues at length in December 2002 and revisited the issue at the January 2003 Board meeting before submitting their final recommendations to the Minister of Environment. The Minister responded to the Board’s recommendations and after much exchange of dialogue the Board and the Minister agreed on a set of regulations.
The regulations have yet to be enacted into law, but the Board has been assured that the regulations that will be drafted, will follow the principles outlined by the Boards recommendations.
Oil and Gas - Potential Impacts
The Board will endeavor to ensure communities are aware of the potential impacts of oil and gas development on fish and wildlife in order for them to make informed decisions about how this development should occur in their area.
Oil and gas development is a relatively new industry in the Yukon. Since the Yukon government took over responsibility for managing oil and gas resources in the late 90s, there have been several disposition processes allowing companies to bid on and receive access to explore certain parts of the territory. In addition, oil companies have started examining the feasibility of a pipeline through the Yukon to transport Alaskan oil and gas to southern markets. As a result, many people are asking questions about what effects these activities may have on fish and wildlife populations.
To provide Yukon residents with basic information on the potential effects, the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board received funding from the Walter and Gordon Duncan Foundation and the federal government’s Northern Ecosystem Initiative to hire an oil and gas researcher.
In March 2002, the Board produced The Effects of the Oil and Gas Industry on Fish and Wildlife: A Review of Scientific Literature, along with four primers on specific aspects of the industry. The documents are designed to provide communities with basic information that will allow them to ask useful questions and make informed decisions about the industry. These documents are available free of charge from the YFWMB.
Oil and Gas – Fair and Open Public Process
The Board will continue to work with communities and governments to ensure the development of a fair, open and informed public process for determining how and where oil and gas development will occur in the Yukon.
Over the past few years, oil and gas development has been focused on the northern Yukon. The areas that have been opened for nomination have covered portions of different First Nation traditional territories and some communities have raised concerns over how consultations on the disposition process have been carried out.
The Board raised these issues with the Yukon’s Department of Economic Development and encouraged the government to develop a process where interested parties identified in land claim agreements could be consulted on where areas should be opened to oil and gas exploration in a meaningful way.
In October 2001, the Board and three of the Renewable Resources Councils most effected by oil and gas development met with Yukon Government staff to voice their concerns and develop solutions. As a result, the Yukon Government has developed a new disposition process.
Aquaculture Policy for the Yukon
In the Yukon, "fish farming" refers to stocking approved fish species (under license) into pothole lakes, growing them to commercial size, and harvesting them for sale. An eligible pothole lake must have no naturally occurring fish populations, it must be a closed system with no inflowing or out-flowing streams, and it must be large and deep enough and have sufficient nutrients to grow and overwinter the stocked fish. It is not "fish farming" when the government or an organization stocks a pothole lake for public recreational fishing. Currently the government stocks 30-40 pothole lakes around Yukon communities for public angling.
When the Yukon Government assumed responsibility for managing freshwater fish in 1989, there were three licensed fish farms. In 2003 there were 16 fish farm licenses for 23 stocked lakes. Licensed fish farms include relatively small hobby-operations as well as commercial enterprises with substantial private investment. There is every indication that fish farming in lakes otherwise devoid of fish, can be an economically attractive and environmentally sustainable.
In September, 2000, the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board recommended to the Yukon Government that a policy be drafted so that fish farming could evolve within a framework of clear rules and procedures. A working group that included members from the Board, the Yukon Territorial Government (Fisheries, Economic Development, and Agriculture), the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Aquaculture Association of the Yukon, the Yukon Fish and Game Association, and a First Nation representative was established to draft recommendations for the management of fish farming for the Board to consider. A stakeholder meeting was held in Whitehorse in April of 2002. Using information gathered at this meeting, the working group finalized their policy recommendations and forwarded them to the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board.
The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board released the proposed policy recommendations in order to gather feedback from the Yukon public in January of 2003. Formal recommendations on fish farming were forwarded to the Minister of Environment for consideration during the summer of 2003. The minister accepted the Board’s recommendations as a framework for a Yukon Aquaculture policy.