Today there are about 1,250 licensed hunters in the NWT, or 3% of the total population. It is important to remember that aboriginal hunters do not need to be licensed, so 1,250 licensed hunters represents about 6% of the non-aboriginal population of the NWT.
There's been a downward trend, from about 2,000 licensed hunters in the 1980s. This trend is, in part, due to a loss of opportunities for resident hunters—parks, protected areas, land claims, and the barren ground caribou season closures.
According to the 2012 Canadian nature survey, NWT residents spent $19 million on hunting, fishing, and trapping activities during the previous 12-month period.
Trapping statistics are hard to come by for the NWT. Trapping is exclusive to aboriginals under current land claims. Trapping is and has always been a traditional activity for many northerners. Trapper numbers have declined since the1980s from about 2,500 active trappers to about 750 active trappers today. Non-aboriginals can be granted special harvesters licences to trap by claimant groups, but today there are very few non-aboriginal trappers in the NWT. Many would like to trap, but do not have the opportunity. Hopefully, this will change over time and more of the abundant fur resource can be utilized.
Non-resident hunting, or outfitted hunting, in the NWT has always been a significant part of the NWT economy, especially in local communities. There has been less revenue from outfitting in the past five years because of a decline in barren ground caribou, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife ban on the importation of polar bear, and new national parks initiatives.
Outfitting was established in the Mackenzie Mountains in 1965, and hunter numbers and harvest levels have been very consistent since then. Eight outfitters in the Mackenzie Mountains contributed $1.8 million in direct and indirect economic benefits to the NWT in 1996, according to the Crapo report in 2000, including meat valued at $200,000 contributed to local communities. This would convert to about $6.5 million today and meat valued at $750,000.
The Crapo report emphasized that the revenue generated by the outfitters is “export revenue”.
Outfitters are really the main resource for wildlife population data in the mountains through hunter observation forms and harvest data.
I could not find any current data on outfitting in the rest of the NWT. The big barren-ground caribou outfitting lodges are all shut down today. At one time they were a huge part of the NWT economy.
The guided fishing sector is a multi-million dollar industry in and of itself, but no hard numbers are available. There were as many as 13,000 fishermen coming to the NWT in 2007, but that declined to about 9,000 in 2009, and is now stable.
Also, Mr. Grinde, if you care to, in response to some of the questions, you may include some of the rest of your—