The chief of a remote First Nation says the province needs its permission to do an aerial moose survey.
Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Chief Donny Morris said he opposes a survey the Ministry of Natural Resources expects to conduct around KI this weekend, including on the community's traditional territory. Morris said he doesn't trust how the MNR will use the results.
"Are they doing the count to see how many moose there is? And then they're going to turn around and use that information and say, 'Yeah, no, you guys can't hunt, there's not enough moose,'” he said.
“People assume we hunt and eat moose meat every day; that's not the case. It's only, like, in the fall and sometimes in the wintertime.”
Morris said the ministry is violating the legal requirement for consultation with First Nations.
The ministry said it gave KI and two other First Nations roughly a month’s notice about the survey.
Spokesperson Michelle Nowak said it's necessary to determine the moose population.
"Biologists use the information gathered to manage the population such as setting harvest allocations, adapting to changes in season lengths, and setting calf harvest control, she said.
Nowak said the last time that particular wildlife unit was fully surveyed was nearly 20 years ago.
Chief Morris sent a letter to Natural Resources Minister David Orazietti relaying his concerns.
"We're just … putting MNR on notice that we do not approve of this study, because it will hamper our usage [and] intake of moose in the future and we don`t want that to happen."
Morris claims there have been surveys done without input on other animals in the past, such as caribou, sturgeon and wolverine. He said a previous caribou study led to hunting limitations, and led to charges being laid against community members.
The survey is scheduled to run from Jan. 8-31.