Fisheries and Oceans Canada is proposing dividing narwhal into six populations and setting hunting quotas based on the number of narwhal in each group, rather than giving a certain number of tags to each community.

The new hunting quota proposal is part of a draft Integrated Fisheries Management Plan for Narwhal.

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The draft management plan proposes dividing narwhal into six populations and setting hunting quotas based on the number of narwhal in each group. (Associated Press)

Fisheries and Oceans banned the international export of narwhal tusks from 17 Nunavut communities in December 2010, but agreed to work with Nunavut Tunngavik on a new management plan after the land claims organization prepared to challenge the ban in court. The ban on exporting tusks has been lifted, except in Grise Fiord.

This week, the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board is holding public hearings on the draft management plan.

"The HTOs and community representatives that are here to listen will have a chance to ask questions and also comment on their concerns," said Peter Kusugak, acting chair of wildlife management board.

The board will make a decision on the proposed changes by September.

Fisheries and Oceans officials say they need a management plan approved by January to present to the Committee on the International Trade of Endangered Species in May 2013.