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Bowhead Whale Hunt to Proceed in 2008

NR 07-11 BOW ENG Bowhead Whale Hunt.doc

(June 21, 2007 – Pangnirtung, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) 2nd Vice-President Raymond Ningeocheak announced today that Nunavut’s next bowhead whale hunt will take place in the summer of 2008.

The decision about the date was made earlier this month during a Wildlife Policy Advisory Committee (WPAC) meeting. The chairs and vice-chairs of the Regional Wildlife Organizations sit on WPAC, and Ningeocheak sits as chair of the committee.

Nine communities have submitted expressions of interest to host the next hunt. Though it could have been held this summer, WPAC decided to schedule it in 2008 in order to properly plan and work with the selected community or communities to prepare for the hunt.

The tremendous success of the 2005 hunt in Repulse Bay was due to the intense planning and preparation that went into the event. Achievements like this illustrate to the world that Inuit are proficient and humane hunters, and that we are striving to protect our cultural traditions which include harvesting bowhead whales, said Ningeocheak.

Recent Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) surveys indicate that a larger than estimated population of bowhead whales exists in Nunavut. NTI plans to approach the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board to ask them to recommend an increase in the quota set by DFO.

A bowhead harvesting workshop with Hunters and Trappers Organizations from interested communities will be held this fall or winter to plan for the 2008 hunt, and for future hunts. A decision on which community’s proposal will be accepted will be made following that workshop.

Since the signing of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, Inuit have harvested four bowhead whale hunts in Nunavut.

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