The provincial government says it will carry over 25 per cent of unsold 2020 non-resident moose licences to the 2021 hunting season in eligible Moose Management Areas (MMA) in an effort to help offset lost revenues of outfitters this season.
“Like many sectors, travel restrictions associated with COVID-19 have made this year’s hunting season a challenging one for Newfoundland and Labrador's outfitters,” said Elvis Loveless, the Minister Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture in a news release.
The release also says, using science-based criteria to assess populations, non-resident moose licence carryovers are supported in 30 of 35 MMAs without affecting the sustainability of moose populations.
Four MMAs – 8, 20, 28 and 41 – are excluded from the carryovers because the science shows there is local declining abundance and quotas, as well as low proportions of males in the population.
MMA 10 will be determined depending on winter 2021 moose population survey results.
Carrying over caribou quotas is not sustainable and is not being considered.
In the news release, Ron Hicks. the president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Outfitters Association, says the announcement will help offset “an immense loss in revenue” for the industry he represents.
“Challenges are nothing new to outfitters, but COVID-19 has created the most difficult challenge our industry has ever faced,” said Hicks. “Border closures and travel restrictions have crippled nearly our entire industry, which typically welcomes more than 7,000 non-resident hunters and anglers to the province annually.
"Most of our members will go 22 months with little or no revenue.
The departments of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture, and Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation, jointly manage and regulate a non-resident hunting industry that normally draws 85 per cent of its business from people travelling from the United States.
However, with pandemic-related restrictions on cross-border travel, most of those clients didn’t show up this year, impacting a local industry that is bigger than many might realize.
“The non-resident hunting sector employs around 1,300 people, mainly in rural communities, and generates over $50 million annually in direct revenue.” said Bernard Davis, the Minister of Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation.
The province will also refund all unsold non-resident licences. As well, it has extended the deadline for outfitters to order non-resident licences from mid-August to mid-December 2020.