Greenland bans narwhal exports


Greenland has slapped a ban on all narwhal products, with a few exceptions.

“The decision becomes effective immediately, however, previously issued permissions may still be used,” say a June 16 announcement on the decision.

This ban applies to jewelry and art objects made from narwhal tusk. Whole teeth are also covered by the ban.

“Since the ban becomes effective immediately, tourists visiting Greenland this year may no longer repatriate handicraft or other items including narwhal tusk or other parts of the animal,” says the announcement.

However, residents of Greenland will still be able to buy narwhal products, and be able to export the products in connection with the moving of household effects. And residents will still be able to bring personal jewelry and possessions from travel abroad.

“However, the effects brought along must be brought back to Greenland,” says the ruling.

Kitikmeot Community Futures Inc., Job Opportunity – Executive Director

The reason for the ban is that the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources cannot document that “exports are without importance to the catch.”

“As the catch is also not deemed sustainable since it exceeds the recommendations from international advice, it can therefore not be ruled out that exports of narwhal products contribute to harming the Greenlandic population of narwhals,” says the announcement.

According to researchers and international marine mammal management bodies,= the narwhal population in Greenland has declined to only 25 per cent of its original size. There may be as few as 1,500 narwhal left – down from a population of about 30,000 not so long ago.

The ban follows moves by the Committee on the Trade of Endangered Species, CITES, to severely limit narwhal trade.

Greenlandic exports of narwhal products have already been subjected to limits in relation to the European Union. With the decision by the Greenland Home Rule Government, tourists’ export of narwhal products to EU countries is now also included.

The ban is considered temporary, says the announcement, and will be maintained as long as it cannot be ruled out that exports “may harm our narwhal population.”

Government of Nunavut, Employment Opportunities
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