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Derby nets many fish
Prizes draw criticism while organizer sees event as quality time with family and friends

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Wednesday, May 27, 2015

People in Rankin Inlet took to the land in droves for the community's annual fishing derby earlier this month, even if Mother Nature was still in a bad mood.

NNSL photo/graphic

Motorists slow to read the sign carried by elder Jackie Iguptak while he protested the fishing derby in Rankin Inlet this past week. - Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

When all was said and done, Lindsey Amarok landed the largest cod at just over 24 inches, and Josephine Makkigak caught the biggest trout at just over 43 inches.

They each earned $4,000 for their top catch.

Rankin rec co-ordinator David Clark said the derby went well.

He said the hamlet has been working hard the past three years to get the message out that cod under 20 inches have no chance of winning and should be released.

"It seemed there were a lot less fish wasted this year, especially cod, so, in that sense, things went really well," said Clark.

"We've had the same cash prizes for the past three or four years now.

"People need to realize it's the Hamlet of Rankin Inlet running it and, unlike some other communities, we don't have a fishing derby committee holding fundraisers year-round to be able to offer big money prizes.

"We're comfortable with the prizes we have, and that shouldn't be the whole focus of the derby anyway."

Elder Jackie Iguptak doesn't want to see Rankin hold a fishing derby at all.

Iguptak protested the event while the measuring was taking place and also took to radio and social media to get his point across.

"It seems the only time some people enjoy going out on the land is when they have a chance to win some money," said Iguptak.

"Any other time, being out on the land is too boring for them.

"Using a fishing derby as a game sport to win something is not the Inuit way.

"I dislike the fishing derbies so much and I'll never stop until they outlaw them."

Clark said he respects Iguptak's opinion.

He said he won't pretend he hasn't thought about the issue himself.

"He does have a valid point, but, at the same time we have to remember why the fishing derby is so popular.

"It's some of the best family time you can have, being out camping together on the land for a long weekend, usually in a big group of family and friends.

"It brings families together and it brings the community together, being out there enjoying the beauty of the land here.

"I take direction from hamlet council and the recreation committee and, until I hear otherwise, we will be holding our fishing derby for many years to come."

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