High Arctic joins forces with Qikiqtarjuaq hunters

Four HTOs form new fisheries alliance


The three job-starved, have-not communities of the High Arctic are now ready to share in Nunavut's offshore fishery, following an agreement with Qikiqtarjuaq's Nattivak HTA that creates a new Inuit-controlled body called the Arctic Fishery Alliance.

"We had a vision that the fishing industry would be run by Inuit, owned by Inuit, for the benefit of Inuit," Lootie Toomasie of the Nattivak HTA said March 11 at the signing in Iqaluit of a memorandum of understanding that gives effect to the new arrangement.

The MOU brings Qikiqtarjuaq into a partnership with Arctic Bay, Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay, three communities that until now have been shut out of the Baffin fishery.

To symbolize their unity, they stored copies of the MOU inside folders made of seal skin from Qikiqtarjuaq and muskox hair from the High Arctic.

Qikiqtarjuaq's Nattivak group withdrew from the Baffin Fisheries Coalition in May of 2004 to develop a community-based fishing enterprise based on their own turbot allocations from Davis Strait and Baffin Bay.

For Nattivak, the new arrangement will give them more clout when applying for offshore turbot quota.

That's because the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board's new rules for allocating quota give more weight to applicants that represent more than one hunters and trappers organization.

The NWMB is expected to issue a call for applications this June, for quota that would be fished in 2009.

Nattivak's chief competitor, the BFC, includes five HTOs. The new Arctic Fisheries Alliance now consists of four HTOs.

Representatives of the three High Arctic HTOs, Tommy Kilabuk of Arctic Bay, Lydia Noah of Grise Fiord and Simon Idlout of Resolute Bay, all said they're grateful for the new agreement and look forward to jobs and other benefits from the fishery.

Quttiktuq MLA Levi Barnabas, along with Senator Willie Adams and Peter Stoffer, the NDP MP for Sackville-Eastern Shore, helped bring the four groups together.

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