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Bowhead hunt prep continues

Camp to be set up this week

Kerry McCluskey
Northern News Services

Iglulik (Aug 05/02) - Preparations for the 2002 Amittuq bowhead whale hunt are in full gear.

Hunt spokesperson Tom Demcheson, the acting executive director of the Qikiqtaaluk Wildlife Board, said last Wednesday hunters planned to set up the camp this week.

That doesn't necessarily mean however, that the hunt will begin right away.

"It depends on the weather and if everybody gets there," said Demcheson. "They're going in to set up the camp," he said.

Once the hunt gets underway, Hall Beach resident Abraham Kaunak will act as captain while Anthony Qrunnut of Iglulik will serve as alternate captain.

Sixteen whalers, eight from each community, have been chosen and participated in training late last month. Panniqtuuq resident Simeonie Keenainak, captain in the 1998 bowhead hunt in Cumberland Sound, was on hand to discuss the safe use and operation of the whaling weapons and to review the roles and responsibilities of the hunters.

Demcheson said the crew wants to establish a safety zone around the hunting zone to prevent spectators and members of the media from getting in the way.

While neither the hunt committee nor the wildlife board has the authority to restrict ocean travel, Demcheson said the Department of Fisheries and Oceans would review the hunt plan and could approve the limitation, thereby making it enforceable.

"All of this will be set up with DFO. If DFO doesn't feel it's appropriate, they'll make adjustments," said Demcheson.