Changing sea ice conditions in Smith Sound, Greenland has changed hunting access to narwhals (Monodon monoceros) in the area. Historically, narwhal populations were only accessible by dog sled on the sea ice. Due to anthropogenic climate change, sea ice in the Arctic Circle is much thinner, breaks apart much easier, and forms much later in the year. Hunters are now able to access the narwhal population by boat. There has been an increase in narwhal catches in Smith Sound, which this paper attributes to a longer hunting season and easier access to the narwhal stock; no dramatic increase in hunting gears or number of hunters has been identified. There are currently no abundance estimates for M. monoceros in Smith Sound, meaning there are no sustainable catch levels established for this population. The Greenlandic hunter's organization (KNAPK) holds very strong political support and has staved off efforts to implement protection for this stock.
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Submitted by club member:
Beluga Blog is a space for MMRT to share club activities throughout the year and interesting marine mammals news shared by our very own club members!