Moose Management

Made-in-Nova Scotia Process
Cape Breton Highlands Moose Management Initiative
February 2007

Moose management in the Cape Breton Highlands is one of the early topics to be addressed through the Made-in-Nova Scotia Process between the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia and the provincial and federal governments.

Moose became locally extinct in Cape Breton Island in the late 1800s, and were re-introduced in 1948-49 to the newly established Cape Breton Highlands National Park with 18 animals from Elk Island National Park, Alberta. This new moose population grew and spread to the point that by the mid 1980's they could be hunted in a sustainable manner in areas outside the park. The Government of Nova Scotia has permitted a licensed limited entry hunt annually since 1986.

Mi'kmaq harvesters also began hunting moose in the Cape Breton Highlands and the number of animals taken in recent years has increased. The Mi'kmaq harvest is mostly unmanaged, with no hunter reporting of biological information and no ability to estimate the total harvest.

Mi'kmaq leaders recognize this as a problem in that the resource is potentially over-exploited by individuals with little benefit to their general community. They are concerned about sustainability of the herd and view over-exploitation as an abuse of collective hunting rights and inconsistent with Mi'kmaq culture. Although the moose population has been growing, a reduction in herd size is expected as a result of changing habitat conditions.

Made-in-Nova Scotia Process

The Made-in-Nova Scotia Process was established as a result of an Umbrella Agreement that the Parties signed in June 2002. Its purpose is to address outstanding constitutional rights issues, including the inherent right to self-government, Aboriginal rights, including assertions of Aboriginal title and treaty issues. The Parties have approved the Framework Agreement that outlines procedural items and list the topics to be covered. Discussions under the process will be without prejudice to Mi'kmaq rights and title. Informal meetings on moose management issues have been held for several years. Now that the Made-in-Nova Scotia Process is in place, it was agreed that it made sense to bring the moose issues into that process.

Who is Involved?

The Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources (UINR) will lead the initiative for the Mi'kmaq together with the Mi'kmaq Negotiation Office (Kwilmuk Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office). UINR is an institute that addresses resource management issues on behalf of the five Mi'kmaq bands of Cape Breton Island (Unama'ki). For this issue, UINR will be working on behalf of all 13 Mi'kmaq bands in Nova Scotia.

Provincial representatives include staff from the Department of Natural Resources and the Office of Aboriginal Affairs. Federal involvement includes Parks Canada and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

Major agreements will require the approval of the chief and lead negotiators from the main table of the Made-in-Nova Scotia Process.

What's Happening?

The overall goal of the moose initiative is to resolve the current unmanaged moose harvest while moving toward an increased level of Mi'kmaq self-government and self-management. This will include looking at building capacity so the Mi'kmaq can play a more active role in management of natural resources and examining the sharing of responsibilities presently held by the provincial and federal governments.

The first phase of the project is to raise Mi'kmaq and public awareness about the issues.

The Mi'kmaq have hired a coordinator to start the dialogue in Mi'kmaq communities to get additional information and input from community members and Mi'kmaq harvesters about their issues and concerns. At the same time, provincial and federal representatives have begun to work with provincial user groups to incorporate their perspectives.


Province of Nova Scotia

Mark Pulsifer
Wildlife Biologist
Department of Natural Resources
Tel: 902-863-7523
Tom Soehl
Director of Negotiations
Office of Aboriginal Affairs
Tel: 902-424-4224

Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia

Clifford Paul
Moose Management Coordinator
Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources
Tel: 902-379-2163

Federal Government

Hélène Robichaud
Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Parks Canada
Tel: 902-285-3016
Amy Seibert
Claims Analyst
Indian & Northern Affairs Canada
Tel: 819-997-6868