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Seeking additional narwhal tags

Kugaaruk hunters have already accounted for all the available 113 narwhal tags, but that hasn't satisfied local needs.

A pod of narhwals. Hunters in Kugaaruk are hoping for more tags to harvest additional whales before the ice gets too thick.
Dr. Kristin Laidre, Polar Science Center/Wikimedia Commons photo

So a request has been sent to other communities in the region to see if they have any remaining narwhal tags they can spare, said Mark Jr. Karlik, manager of the Kurtairujuark Hunters & Trappers Association.

Hunters and trappers representatives in Cambridge Bay said they may be able to surrender 12 tags, Taloyoak had three to give away and there's a possibility of some being available from Kugluktuk as well, Karlik said.

"That was very generous of them," he said of the offers of assistance.

Kugaaruk was issued 156 narwhal tags last year but didn't use them all. The reduction to 113 this year has proven a bit too much, according to Karlik.

"It went way down," he said. "We still have a lot of need."

Narwhal hunts can normally take place until the first week of October, which is usually when the ice along the shore starts getting thick and interferes with boating, Karlik added.