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Big bounty of small food
Shrimp discovery at Qikiqtarjuaq great news for community

Casey Lessard
Northern News Services
Published Friday, November 21, 2014

Soon after the good news that Grise Fiord may have a strong stock of shrimp, residents are buzzing about the discovery of shrimp of their own near Qikiqtarjuaq.

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Elders sample the first of what is expected to be a bountiful supply of fresh, locally caught shrimp in Qikiqtarjuaq. - photo courtesy of Morris Kuniliusee

"They didn't expect to find shrimp so they didn't even have the exact right equipment," acting senior administrative officer Arthur Nicomedes stated by e-mail. "But the shrimp are so plentiful that they were still able to land enough to let us know we have a new abundant food source."

The discovery was made by the Arctic Fishery Alliance boat Kiviuq I on its way south from the High Arctic, where it made the Grise Fiord discovery and made a sealift-style delivery of supplies for the Arctic Bay Hunters and Trappers Organization.

The AFA partnered with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans to do exploratory research in the alliance's member communities, but, as mentioned in a previous report, Kiviuq I was unable to refuel in Arctic Bay and had to cancel exploratory fisheries in Arctic Bay and Resolute Bay.

Even so, while on its way south for the winter, the boat made the surprise find during an exploratory fishery in Qikiqtarjuaq, and residents were able to see and sample the shrimp at a community event Oct. 17.

"Maps were left with community members of the locations and depth of catch," Nicomedes stated in an e-mail to Nunavut News/North. "There are even two different species of shrimp. Excellent size and super delicious."

In Grise Fiord, the fishery alliance was using whelk pots to search for whelks - the animals that become escargot - and the discovery of shrimp was a bonus. In the northernmost community's waters, the whelk pots inadvertently captured three species of coldwater shrimp each day. Coldwater shrimp garner $1 per pound upon landing in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Nicomedes, who is building a case for a deep water port in Qikiqtarjuaq, is buoyed by the prospect of a fishery in his hamlet.

"There's shrimp nearby that can be harvested by and for the community," Nicomedes stated. "This will strengthen the very real possibilities for our developing an inshore fishery while increasing food security. More research needs to be done but the future looks very bright."

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