Photo credit: Kristin LaidrePhoto credit: Kristin LaidreGreenland is the home of 4 polar bear sub-populations. Greenland has sole jurisdiction over the sub-population along the East Greenlandic coast. Kane Basin and Baffin Bay subpopulations are shared with Nunavut, Canada. The jurisdiction over Davis Strait is not covered by any Memorandum of Understanding; however, it is geographically shared with Canada.

Legislation

The Greenland Home Rule Act No. 12 of October 29, 1999, on Hunting and Game provides the legal framework for wildlife management and sets the legal boundaries for the protection of wildlife. The Executive Order on the Protection and Hunting of Polar Bear regulates the harvest of polar bears, limiting the harvest to single adult polar bears, and sets the boundaries of polar bear research. Laws on environmental protection and animal welfare also apply to the management of polar bears.  

Habitat Protection

Among the protected areas, two sites are located within polar bear habitat: Melville Bay (10,500 km2) in the northwest and Greenland National Park (972,000 km2) in the northeast. The protection of these areas safeguards biodiversity while providing access to recreational use in designated areas.

Management System

Photo credit:Mads Ole KristiansenPhoto credit:Mads Ole KristiansenResponsibility for the management of polar bears resides with the Division of Hunting and Game, within the Ministry of Fisheries and Hunting. The Division manages both marine and terrestrial species hunted in Greenlandic territory. Licenses to harvest polar bears are issued by the municipalities, within annual quotas set by either the Ministry or the Cabinet.

Trophy hunting and polar bear watching are not allowed. Export of polar bear products are not permitted in reference to the self-imposed ban from 2008.

The Greenland Fisheries License Control Authority is tasked with enforcing the regulations set by the government and the municipalities.

The Minister of Fisheries and Hunting sets an annual quota of polar bears for subsistence harvest. The Ministry drafts a preliminary allocation of the quota based on the latest scientific advice and harvest results for the preceding harvest season, and then sends the draft for consultations among the stakeholders, also taking into account local knowledge. In the end, it is the Cabinet which makes an overall decision on the size of the total quota.  

National Action Plan

Photo credit: Henrik Hansen Photo credit: Henrik Hansen The Greenlandic Action Plan for the Management of Polar Bear will be finished in 2017, and presented to the other Range States countries at the upcoming Range States meeting in Alaska in early 2018. The objective of the Greenlandic Action Plan is to aid the management authority for polar bears (the Division of Hunting and Game) in ensuring their long-term conservation.