Massive Arctic cruise ships are threatening Inuit hunting grounds

This segment originally aired Oct. 20, 2016, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

The Crystal Serenity in August became the largest cruise liner to ever traverse the Northwest Passage. More than 1,700 passengers and crew toured the Canadian Arctic and visited Pond Inlet, disrupting the lifestyle of its local community, comprising about 1,300 residents.

“They’re in our hunting zone. There’s hardly any narwhals coming by,” community health worker Ena Maktar said. “If the marine mammals are not there any more, that means we’re going to have to travel further to go hunt for our food.”

Since the 1980s, Northwest Passage transits have quadrupled. Increased rates of Arctic tourism are threatening the food security of local communities.

“Before the [outsiders] arrived, Inuit fended for themselves by using the animals.” Pond Inlet elder Elijah Panikpakochoo told VICE News correspondent Arielle Duhaime-Ross. “We survived by ourselves.”

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