Meetings in Kuujjuaq, Que., on a management plan for the George River caribou herd wrapped up Thursday with no agreement, but some participants say there could be a plan soon.

Aboriginal leaders from the Innu, Naskapie, Cree and Inuit met this week in Kuujjuaq to discuss the declining herd and what immediate steps should be taken.


Jobie Tukkiapik, president of the Makivik Corporation, says Inuit in Nunavik are open to a moratorium on hunting George River caribou. (CBC)

The herd has shrunk dramatically over the last decade to less than 30,000 animals, from about 400,000.

The leaders agreed drastic action should be taken, but they also said it would be a hard sell.

"The Inuit are open to a moratorium on the George River caribou herd but, we have to have that ratified, we have to have discussions with our own people," said Jobie Tukkiapik, president of Makivik Corporation, the organization established in 1975 to administer the funds from the James Bay Northern Quebec land agreement.

"It's not necessarily going to be easy to do that. And if it does go ahead, we have to have the mechanics of how this is going to be carried out," said Tukkiapik.

The leaders agreed to try to come up with a management plan in the next six to eight weeks.

The province of Quebec has already banned sport hunting of the herd.

Two groups in Labrador, the Nunatsiavut and the Nunatukavut, have also suspended hunting of the herd.

"You know this measure needs to be taken until we can come up with a proper management plan for the herd to preserve it and to conserve what few caribou there are left so we have caribou for the future generations," said Sarah Leo, president of the Nunatsiavut government.

The parties have agreed to meet again in April to decide on what management measures will take place.