“This is a long way and a long time since our people traditionally hunted the bowhead from skin boats with harpoons” said Pita Aatami, President of Makivik, the land claims organization that represents the interests of the Inuit of Nunavik. “But this is also a part of our history and culture, we have always used the resources of the sea and it’s important we continue to do so, but in terms of modern practices including recognizing quotas and joint management with the government of Canada. That is why Makivik worked with the community to get a bowhead quota and licence for our region” Makivik is sponsoring the hunt in partnership with the Inuit Landholding Corporation in Kangiqsujuaq.
The entire hunt will involve more than 40 hunters, working from 14 freighter canoes. Nine canoes are designated as spotter’s vessels; the five hunting canoes will each have three crew members. The canoe with the Whaling Captain will be equipped with a specially-designed high powered darting gun that will deliver a specially-designed penetrating cartridge that will explode after it has entered deep into the whale, to ensure a quick kill. The other four hunting canoes will also carry high-powered rifles with sufficient force to kill a whale. They will also be equipped with tested harpoons and recovery equipment ropes and buoys. In addition, there will be a larger 39-foot Peterhead boat to tow the whale to a pre-selected harvesting site and one vessel for DFO regulators and scientists who will use the hunt to gather biological and other research information from the whale.
Unauthorized vessels will not be permitted with one and a half kilometres from the hunting activity.
Similar hunts have been held in Nunavut waters during the past ten years and a marine biologist and whaling captain from Nunavut Inuit Land Claim organization, Nunavut Tunngavik Corporation, will be part of the training and briefing sessions for the Nunavik hunt. The designated hunting area runs 20 kms offshore and 70 kms east and west of the community.
For more information:
Makivik Head Office
St-Laurent, Qc H4M 2X6
514.745.8880 ext 215