The Harp-seal Controversy and the Inuit Economy

  • George Wenzel
Keywords: Economic conditions, Inuit, Sealing, Subsistence, Canadian Arctic


The writer points out that Inuit communities depend more on the ringed seal than on the harp seal in economic terms. The ringed seal is a primary food resource and the sale of the skins of ringed seals provide a significant portion of the cash income of the Inuit. The public protests against the killing of the baby harp seals has also affected the hunting of ringed seals. While the price for harp seal skins has remained fairly stable, the demand for the rough ringed seal skins has gone down, affecting adversely the Inuit economy in the north.