Beluga season opens in Nunavik

Hudson Strait opens for harvesting and Eastern Hudson Bay gets limit of 12 belugas

Beluga whales swim in the Hudson Strait near the Nunavik community of Quaqtaq in this file photo. The federal government opened the beluga season on Feb. 1. (File photo by Johnny Oovaut)

By Nunatsiaq News

Updated on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022 at 4:30 p.m.

A new beluga season began for all Nunavik hunters on Feb. 1.

The whales can be hunted in all six regions across Nunavik as of Feb. 1, Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced in a public notice to hunters.

The Hudson Strait area, closed in December and January, is now open for harvesting belugas. The Eastern Hudson Bay region surpassed the limit of 20 belugas in 2021, and therefore has a total limit of 12 belugas this year.

Long Island and James Bay, North Eastern Hudson Bay, Ottawa Islands and Ungava Bay remain open for harvesting.

Mucalic Estuary, Nastapoka Estuary and Little Whale River Estuary remain closed for beluga harvesting, but community hunt plans can be submitted for the areas before March 31. Hunters are invited to contact their Local hunting association (LNUK, Anguvigapik), the Regional hunting association (RNUK, Anguvigak), or the Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board ( for details.

Correction: This article has been updated from an earlier version to provide the correct name for the Eastern Hudson Bay region and to clarify aspects of the hunting season.

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(3) Comments:

  1. Posted by NUNAVIMIUK on

    Let the slaughter begin

    • Posted by Truestory on

      Food. Take the meat and make it inti jerkies. Yummy protein.

  2. Posted by Hire Me Nunatsiaq on

    Overall the beluga population is estimated to be 150,000–200,000 animals.
    The number of animals killed is about 1,000 per year. Beluga whale hunting quotas in Canada and the United States are established using the Potential Biological Removal equation PBR = Nmin * 0.5 * Rmax * FR, to determine what constitutes a sustainable hunt. Nmin represents a conservative estimation of the population size, Rmax represents the maximum rate of population increase and FR represents the recovery factor.
    Previous levels of commercial whaling have put the species in danger of extinction in areas such as Cook Inlet, Ungava Bay, the St. Lawrence River and western Greenland.
    Hunters in Hudson’s Bay rarely eat the meat. They give a little to dogs, and leave the rest for wild animals. Other areas may dry the meat for later consumption by humans. In Greenland the skin is sold commercially to fish factories, and in Canada to other communities. An average of one or two vertebrae and one or two teeth per beluga are carved and sold. One estimate of the annual gross value received from Beluga hunts in Hudson Bay in 2013 was CA$600,000 for 190 belugas, or CA$3,000 per beluga. However, the net income, after subtracting costs in time and equipment, was a loss of CA$60 per person.

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