GN will continue buying sealskins: Shewchuk

Program costs $500,000 a year


The Government of Nunavut will continue to pay Nunavut hunters for their sealskins, Daniel Shewchuk, the territory’s environment minister, said March 7.

Despite lagging sealskin sales and a European Union ban on seal products, Nunavut’s $500,000 annual program to purchase sealskins from hunters will not be cut, Shewchuk said in his minister’s statement to the legislature.

The sealskin purchase program “continues to protect Nunavut harvesters from shouldering the economic burden this ban has caused,” he said.

During the first Fur Harvesters Auction of 2011, which took place in early January, “demand and prices were high for all of Nunavut’s long fur species,” he said.

Sales of Nunavut furs and sealskins grossed $386,561 at this auction, with polar bears and Arctic fox selling particularly well, he said.

At this auction, 1,431 sealskins were sold, “which indicates some level of interest in Nunavut sealskins,” he said.

Nunavut continues to fight the EU seal ban, but Nunavut is also encouraging the hunt of other species, such as wolf and wolverine.

In partnership with Fur Harvesters Auction and with money from CanNor, Nunavut recently piloted a series of fur handling workshops in of Rankin Inlet, Baker Lake, and Arviat, Shewchuk said.

These workshops trained about 70 hunters on how to prepare wolf and wolverine pelts to sell to the taxidermy market. Three more workshops will be offered this month in the Kitikmeot region, he said.

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