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Repulse Bay Hunters Land Bowhead Whale

NR 05-30 WHA ENG Whale Harvest.doc

(August 23, 2005 – Repulse Bay, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. 2nd Vice-President Raymond Ningeocheak, the Executive Officer responsible for wildlife, today congratulated Repulse Bay hunters on their successful harvest of a 16-metre (54-foot) bowhead whale.

Community hunters were issued the hunt license Aug. 14 after Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ officials examined the hunt equipment. High winds kept the hunters on land for the first few days, but on Aug. 18, the winds were calm and the hunters were able to get on the water.

I am very pleased by the successful manner in which the hunters planned this hunt. Using traditional and new equipment, the hunters were able to efficiently and humanely harvest the bowhead whale, said Ningeocheak.

The hamlet of Repulse Bay plans to share the meat and muktuq with Nunavummiut across the territory.

The success of this hunt can provide lessons to future communities that plan to harvest bowhead whales. 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.

In accordance with the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, Inuit in Nunavut are entitled to harvest a bowhead whale. Following the signing of the NLCA, the first harvest took place in Repulse Bay in 1996. Hunters in Pangnirtung landed a whale in 1998, followed by a harvest in Coral Harbour in 2000. Igloolik/Hall Beach hunters took a whale in 2002.

Hunt Captain Marcel Mapsalak expressed his gratitude to his hunt crew for their contributions to the hunt.

The crew did their jobs very well and the hunt was professional and very proficient, said Mapsalak. He also extended his thanks to NTI for purchasing the new equipment, the fuel for the hunt, and for providing other financial support.

For further information:

Kerry McCluskey
Director of Communications
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
Tel: (867) 975-4914
Cell: (867) 975-1337
Toll-free: 1-888-646-0006