Wildlife: Seal skins Seal meat products planned
BROUGHTON ISLAND (OCT 21/96) - Seal meat products could soon be on the tables of homes and restaurants in the NWT.

And Broughton Island will be the scene of production.

The Baffin sealing strategy, a partnership between Inuit organizations and the territorial government, has plans to make put a small number of products on sale on a limited basis.

The products will include seal pot pies and boil-bag seal. Other possibilities are breakfast sausage, pepperoni and cuts of meat.

"There is a demand," said Larry Simpson of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development. "But chefs don't like cutting seal in their kitchens because of the smell."

The food-product plans are one segment of the seal strategy geared to utilize as much as one seal as possible.

Another part of the plan is small-garment manufacturing. This project already has one year under its belt and is getting ready for another.

For the seal food project, early plans are to have as many as four people working for three months in the Broughton Island fishing plant.

These people would work under the eye of a co-ordinator with technical foods experience, Simpson said. Hunters would be paid for some of the meat they provide, he added.

"We should have products available between January and March," Simpson said. "We'll have some foods available for the Arctic Foods celebration we have here."

The Arctic Foods gala will allow those on the seal strategy committee to determine what kind of a demand there is for the product.

While the seals are plentiful in the Broughton Island area, an additional challenge faces those involved with the project.

Harp seals are not a traditional food. The ring seal is the animal Inuit have traditionally eaten and have acquired a taste for, Simpson said. Both will be included in the project.

As for the project to sew mitts, hats and other small clothing articles out of seal skins, Simpson said sewers will likely again be active in Clyde River, Broughton, Pangnirtung and Iqaluit.

Changes to that part of the project could include privatizing part of the operation, Simpson said.

But that will be finalized when the project gets into full swing later this year.