Narwhal Hunts

Demand for the male narwhal's long ivory tusk has provided an important incentive for Inuit hunters in some areas. Between 1965 and 1978, prices soared from Can.$1.25 per pound to Can.$50 per pound, following EEC and US bans on the importation of narwhal ivory from Canda. Greenland Inuit were granted an exemption from the EEC ban and they still export to this market.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the combined 'takes' by Greenland and Canadian Inuit reached as much as 2,000 animals a year. Presently the number of narwhals killed and landed is between 700 and 1,100 animals annually; more are killed but sink before they can be retrieved.

The two discrete stocks of narwhals, to the west and east of Greenland, total between 24,000 and 30,000 animals. The western stock may presently be over-exploited.

Lost? Click here for the main index page.