Arvik means bowhead whale in Inuktitut.
Bowheads, who are members of the right whale family, are endangered. Considered the 'right' kind of whale to hunt in whaling days since they were slow swimmers, provided lots of oil and floated when killed, they were hunted to near extinction. Now they are protected worldwide and only the Inuit, who traditionally relied on them for food, are allowed to hunt them once every few years in hunts observed by environmental organizations and the world's media. When the hunt is over, muktaak, the whale's edible blubber, is distributed to all of the communities of Nunavut, an area larger than all the states along the eastern seaboard of the US. How can one whale stretch that far? Well, bowheads can weigh up to 50 tons and there are around 30,000 Nunavut inhabitants. Do the math!
Rugh, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries
Service, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Mammal Laboratory.
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