Hunting of caribou belonging to Labrador's George River herd has been severely restricted. ((CBC))

Newfoundland and Labrador's Conservation Minister Terry French says research suggests there is reason to be optimistic about the future of caribou on the island.

French spoke to outfitters in western Newfoundland Wednesday.

He said that although the island's caribou herd has dropped by as much as two-thirds since the early 1990s, he's pleased to see some data that suggests the decline may be reversing.

"Our calves weights are becoming bigger and heavier and we've also known that our stags are becoming bigger which is all a good sign of a population headed in the right direction," he said

French said researchers have written numerous reports on the island's animals, but they are also studying the George River caribou herd in Labrador.