It’s been 37 years coming, but a Greenlandic bowhead whale has been hunted and caught near the town of Qeqertarsuaq, thus finally filling its special quota to catch a single whale. In 1973, the historic Greenland whaling town was granted permission to hunt a single whale in commemoration of the town’s 200th anniversary.
It took nearly four decades, but Qeqertarsuaq whalers finally hauled in a bowhead whale that weighed 40 tonnes and measured 14 metres long. SIKUnews reports the bowhead will be processed and distributed to the local community on 21 June to celebrate the start of Greenland’s self-rule.
Qeqertarsuaq is an historic whaling town that specialised in the hunting of the Greenlandic whale during the 1800s and 1900s. However, in 1932, all Bowhead whales were officially listed as protected species. Greenland does, however, hunt other species of whale.
Last year, the International Whaling Commission granted Greenland its first bowhead whaling quota since 1932. They can hunt two bowhead whales per year from 2008 to 2012. Since no bowheads were caught in 2008, the quota tally carried over into 2009. Therefore, four whales may be caught this year.
Since the Greenland government pays for the expenses of whale hunting, the first two whales that are caught must go to the government for research purposes. Biologists will receive the bones, eyes and sample tissues to study. But the meat and blubber will go to the citizens of Qeqertarsuaq to honour Greenland’s self rule.