Far-flung char: Baffin Island fishery offers free shipping to host of southern cities

Pangnirtung Fisheries Ltd. offers new deal to anywhere Canadian North flies

Brian Veevee, a long-time worker at Pangnirtung Fisheries, holds up the first catch of char from the 2020 season. (Photo courtesy of Pangnirtung Fisheries Ltd/Instagram)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Fishing season for one Baffin Island business started Wednesday, and the success of a recent remodelling is setting the stage for a profitable year.

Pangnirtung Fisheries Ltd. is shipping products for free with Canadian North, opening up potential markets in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal, Ottawa and Whitehorse.

The deal began in the beginning of January, said Keaton Guy, production manager for Pangnirtung Fisheries. It’s part of a larger plan to modernize the business and expand its customer base throughout Canada.

The website and free shipping “has increased sales like you wouldn’t believe,” said Guy. “For the first time in the last 10 years we sold out of Arctic char.”

Guy said before the website and the revamped business strategy, customers had to call in to Pangnirtung to place orders and pay for shipping.

The business receives country food rates through Canadian North, which offers a discount from standard freight costs. Now, Guy said Pangnirtung Fisheries decided eating the cost of shipping was worth selling more of their stock and developing new markets.

Guy said there’s a lot of excitement with the fishing season starting.

The fishery will open an hour earlier and close an hour later, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Guy said the scales will be in operation almost right away.

Pangnirtung Fisheries has more than 80 contract fishermen and women who travel out to a secret location on the ice, set up their equipment, cut a hole in the ice and leave their lines with 600 hooks in for about 12 hours. Then, they haul up their catch with a machine or by hand, and drop it off at the processing plant to be weighed.

“The most popular is the char fillets,” he said.

The season ends when the ice breaks apart or Pangnirtung Fisheries hits their quota of 800,000 pounds of fish, which, Guy said, they can reach in about three months.

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(3) Comments:

  1. Posted by Lise Vautour on

    Congrats to Pangnirtung Fisheries Ltd. I’ve been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to eat Artic char and in my opinion it’s even better than our Atlantic Salmon. I can understand why there is excitement with fishing when the season starts.
    Have a great season!

  2. Posted by Peter on

    This company is a great example of a Inuit business, since buying out the GN and taking over they have done very well. It should be recognized as such.

    • Posted by Ignored Beneficiary on

      First we’d have to see the books.

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