In more than 30 years of setting whale nets, Moses Nakoolak has never seen anything like it.
On Oct. 1, he and his son pulled up one of their nets about five kilometres from the community and a large unusual creature was trapped in it.
“I was thinking maybe it’s a walrus because it’s way too heavy,” Nakoolak said. “We pulled it up to the shore and my son Moses Jr., he recognized it right away. ‘It’s a Greenland shark! It’s a Greenland shark!'”
The specimen measures 3.1 metres (10 feet, 3 inches) and weighs close to 227 kg (about 500 pounds), Nakoolak said.
“We’ve never seen a Greenland shark in anyone’s nets here in Coral Harbour. This is the very first time we seen that caught in the whale nets,” he said, adding that narwhal and beluga are what he normally catches.
He and his son put the shark on a kamotiq and brought it back to Nakoolak’s home. Before they got there, some curious community members were following them to get a glimpse of the oddity. Since then, many, many people have stopped by to take a look and snap photos.
Jeffrey Ottokie had to get an up close look for himself.
“Jeez, that thing is not the smoothest. It’s really rough skin… if it was alive I’d never touch it,” Ottokie said. “It’s the first time we’ve seen a whole Greenland shark like that… It’s quite amazing to see that.”
Nakoolak said he’s heard Greenlandic people boil the shark meat and eat it. Others have said it’s generally used as dog food.
“I have no clue at all what I’m going to do with it,” he said, laughing.