Quotas on Narwhal hunting in East Greenland: Trends in Narwhal killed per hunter and potential impacts of regulations on inuit communities

This study evaluates the introduction of quotas on narwhal hunting in East Greenland with respect to effects on Inuit culture and based on trends in narwhal killed per hunter and assessment of migration patterns. Cultural aspects were assessed through group discussions and comparison between East and Northwest Greenland. Trends in narwhal killed/hunter were modeled from catch statistics using information on number of hunters and climate and ice cover data for the period 19932004. Results indicate negative impacts of quotas on Inuit culture; did not detect negative trends in narwhal killed/hunter; and suggest southwest- bound migration, implying potential immigration from non-hunted populations that was not considered in quota setting. The implementation of quotas without local consultations and legal basis in the relevant executive order is therefore in our opinion inappropriate. Conservation and sustainable use of narwhal stocks may be more likely to succeed if local communities are involved through comanagement agreements.