Media Centre

Nunavut Delegation calls Visit with Greenland Premier a Success

NR 06-04 SEA ENG Sealskins.doc

(January 26, 2006 — Iqaluit, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. President Paul Kaludjak, Inuit Circumpolar Conference Chair Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Premier Paul Okalik, and Environment Minister Olayuk Akesuk yesterday traveled to Nuuk, Greenland to meet with Premier Hans Enoksen and other officials to discuss that country’s recent ban on the import of Canadian seal skins.

The Greenland Home Rule Government announced the importation ban on Canadian seal skins in early January. During yesterday’s meeting, the Nunavut delegation asked Premier Enoksen to reconsider that decision.

Our goal was to reaffirm to Premier Enoksen that Canada’s seal hunt is entirely sustainable and conducted only in the most humane manner in all Canadian jurisdictions, said Kaludjak. There is still a great deal of inaccurate information about Canada’s seal hunt in the media. We wanted to set the record straight with more accurate information, based on traditional knowledge and scientific fact, to allow the Home Rule Government to be better able to reconsider their decision, he said.

Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans monitors and assesses Canada’s seal populations to ensure that all harvests are sustainable. Scientific research has established that all Canada’s seal hunts are humane.

In times like this, we Inuit always find a way to meet on common ground. Without question, many of the regional and national issues which affect our Inuit world have international implications. Because of that, our actions must be strategic, reflective and not reactive, said Watt-Cloutier.

Officials from Nunavut and Greenland agreed to form a working group, with the involvement of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, to enable both countries to come to an agreement to end this unnecessary ban and support the harvest of seals in both countries. The working group will attempt to hold its first meeting in March.

For further information:

Kerry McCluskey
Director of Communications
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated