by Mark Sproxton
Northern News Services
NNSL (NOV 04/96) - A commercial fishery near Broughton Island may eventually return big economic dividends to the community.
With the revenues from current fishing projects, the Nattivak Hunters and Trappers Association hopes to construct a port with fish-freezing capabilities and realize more spin-offs from fishing in the area.
"The ultimate goal is to allow a boat like the Vesturvon to unload its catch and go back out fishing without having to go south to drop off the fish," said Eric Doig, the community's wildlife officer.
"It will allow the fishermen a longer season and allow people in the community to become more involved with the spin-off businesses."
New business opportunities include unloading vessels, warehousing, accommodations, supplying vessels with food and even mechanical and repair work, he added.
As many as 60 different vessels fish in the Davis Straight during the summer months. The HTA hopes to take advantage of Broughton's location and favorable tides to attract some of those vessels.
While the goal may take as many as 10 years to reach, the community is taking the opportunity to exploit fishing seriously, said Larry Simpson, the region's renewable resources development supervisor.
This year, the trappers contracted the MV Vesturvon from the Faroe Islands (between Norway and Iceland) to conduct a 30-day exploratory fishing program and a commercial fishing program.
The current commercial program is the second in a row for the community. Three locals have been hired as crew for the Vesturvon.
This was the third year of the exploratory program to determine the number, quantity and species available.
About 300 million tonnes of turbot was landed in the program from Sept. 21 to Oct. 23. Exploratory programs in areas where no commercial fishing occurs takes about five to 10 years, allowing for full examination of the fish stocks, habitat and other factors that may have been affected by the fishing.
The commercial fishing is taking place in other waters south of the east Baffin community. Fish caught in there will be processed aboard the 65-metre vessel and off-loaded in Nova Scotia.
Some of the fish may be landed in Broughton, something that would provide employment for up to 20 people in the community.
"The HTA has done all this with its own money," Doig said. "With what they are doing they should be able to be self-sufficient in the near future."