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In 1991, hunters from Kangerlussuaq on the east coast of Greenland were interviewed about their knowledge of the number and distribution of hunted animals and the hunting conditions. The background was the fact that exploration for gold and other minerals in the area had increased over the preceding six years. The purpose of the study was to avoid or minimize conflicts of interest between a mine, the hunters and the hunted animals.
A total of 23 hunters were interviewed in Kangerlussuaq, Ammassalik, Tiniteqilaaq, Kuummiit and Kulusuk. The material obtained from the interviews covers the years from 1951 to 1991. During these years an average of five to ten hunters had wintered in Kangerlussuaq in three periods: 1991-1954, 1966-1980 and 1986-1991.
By far the most important animals hunted are ringed seal, narwhal and polar bear. About 1000 to 2000 ringed seals, 20 to 30 narwhals and 25 to 35 polar bears are caught in a single season. These three species are described in detail in the paper. Bearded seal, hooded seal and harp seal are caught in numbers of 50 to 200 per season and fish and birds are caught only on a small scale. Information regarding the catch and distribution of marine mammals through the year is listed by the month.
The interview-study has shown that the outer half of the Kangerlussuaq fjord is the most important hunting area for all marine mammals all the year round. The area around Søkongen Ø some 75 km to the east of Kangerlussuaq, is very important for polar bear hunting, and its importance has increased since 1986. This change in the pattern of the polar bear hunting may be due to the increased disturbance from both mineral exploration and hunting.