Nunavut seal skin market hits bottom

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					C6 NEWS/NORTH June, 2009

 OPPORTUNITIES•NORTH                                                                                                                                                                                                                FUR

Average pelt prices dip in 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    NWT Fur Prices
                   NWT marten averages $62                                                                                                                          2009                                         2008
                                                                                                                                                    Avg. price             Top Price           Average price          Top price

      More buyers attend big Seattle auction                                                                               Marten                   $62                    $187                $100                   $190
                                                                                                                           Lynx                     $106                   $312                $288                   $390

             by Lauren McKeon          NWT fur sells under the                           Northern furs are sold            Wolverine                $394                   $537                $254                   $400
           Northern News Services   “Genuine Mackenzie Valley                         several times throughout the         Wolf                     $180                   $437                $147                   $470
   Average prices for North-        Furs” brand through a mar-                        year, but the biggest auction is
                                                                                                                           Mink                     $13.49                 $23.13              $16                    $27
west Territories fur may be         keting agreement between the                      put on by Fur Harvesters and
down, but fur has fared better      Government of the Northwest                       American Legend Auction in                         Source: GNWT Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment/Fur Harvesters Auction Inc
on the markets than expected        Territories and Fur Harvesters                    Seattle each year. This sale
this season in light of the eco-    Auction Inc., based in North                      offers both wild fur, from the         Average marten prices fell by 38 per cent at March’s auction in Seattle,
nomic climate.                      Bay, Ont.                                         North, and ranch fur, from             Washington.
                                                                                      animals raised on farms. It
                                                                                      took place March 11 this            a high of $187. The principle       aged $180 and hit a high of                 The boost in trappers is
                                                                                      year.                               buyers of marten were Hong          $437; wolverine pelts averaged           especially evident in the South
                                                                                         Sales from the March             Kong/China, Russia, Greece          $394 – a significant increase            Slave and Sahtu regions.
                                                                                      auction totalled $722,000,          and Italy.                          over last year’s $254 average –             The GNWT attributes
                                                                                      accounting for most of the              Production of marten rose       and a high of $537, compared             growth in numbers amongst
                                                                                      $815,767 in fur revenue as of       by 31 per cent this fur season.     to last year’s $400 high.                youth and younger adults to
                                                                                      April. The fiscal year for fur          The NWT provided 1,053              In total, the 2009 Seattle           investments made to continu-
                                                                                      sales ends June 30.                 pelts of lynx at the Seattle        auction brought in 250 buy-              ously improve its Take a Kid
                                                                                                                          auction, making up one-third        ers worldwide, with 40 buyers            Trapping and Trapper Train-
                                                                                              Marten down                 of the total offering and mark-     actively competing for wild              ing programs.
                                                                                          Marten, also known as           ing an 83 per cent increase in      Northern fur. This is a boost               Trappers receive certain
                                                                                      Canadian sable and the back-        production. Prices averaged         over the 200 buyers at 2008’s            amounts of payment advance,
                                                                                      bone of the NWT fur industry,       $106 – compared to last year’s      auction and a great improve-             like $65 per marten, with each
                                                                                      did well at this year’s Seattle     $288, the highest since 1989 –      ment from the 56 buyers at               fur handed over to the govern-
                                                                                      auction, but average prices         and topped at $312. Most furs       2007’s auction.                          ment to sell at auctions. Any
                                                                                      dropped significantly from          went to Russian buyers.                 Sustained interest in North-         furs selling for more than the
                                                                                      last year’s $100 high.                  The taxidermy trade in the      ern fur is definitely good news          advance get the trapper addi-
                                                                                          The NWT offered 12,790          United States pushed demand         for the 728 trappers in the              tional cash equal to the dif-
                                                                                      marten pelts. The average           for the other key furs offered      NWT, an increase of 16 per               ference, as well as $25 prime
                                                                                      price for market was $62, with      by the NWT. Wolf pelts aver-        cent from last year’s numbers.           fur bonus.

                                                                                      Nunavut seal skin
                                                                                      market hits bottom                                                           Nunavut seal skin statistics by harvest year:
                                                                                            No skins sell at auction
                                                     photo courtesy of Glen Guthrie

   The top price for marten in 2008 was $190, drop-                                                                                                                    Fur Harvesters Auction Inc.’s sale
   ping to $187 in 2009.                                                                                                                                                                              Average
                                                                                                                                                                 Year             Pelts sold                            Top price

                                                                                       Territorial government looks                                              2008
                         Meat and Groceries at
                          Wholesale Prices for
                                                                                          at new marketing plan                                                  2006             5,975               $69.33            $121.29
                                                                                                                                                                 2005             6,500               $72.65            $142.50
                           the Retail and Food                                                     by Lauren McKeon          The Government of Nuna-             2004             7,800               $67.02            $92.40
                                                                                                 Northern News Services   vut is developing markets                                                        Source: Fur Harvesters Auction Inc.
                              Service Industry                                           The economic crunch and          inside Nunavut and is work-         *2007 harvest was primarily sold at auction in 2008. Likewise 2008
                                                                                      the European Union’s new            ing with the NWT and Yukon           harvest was put up for sale at 2009 auction.
                                            •Beef •Pork
                                                                                      laws banning imported seal          to develop fur markets in Asia          The European Union’s ban on seal skins has
                                            •Veal •Poultry                            skin products have effectively      and Russia.                             caused their international demand to plummet.
                                                                                      shut down Nunavut’s inter-             The government is also
                                            •Smoked Meats                             national seal skin trade.           looking at the possibilities of
                                                                                         None of the 11,000 seal          seal leather and other ideas to
                                            •Fish •Bread                              pelts available during the          promote the use of seal skin.
                                                                                      January auction in North Bay,          Because the Government
                                            •Cheese •Eggs                             Ont., were purchased. In 2007,      of Nunavut is purchasing the
                                                                                      just 500 pelts sold, down from      skins, the slow seal trade is
                                            •Dairy Products                           nearly 6,000 sold in 2006.          not yet affecting the 1,200
                                            •Canned Goods                                                                 hunters in Nunavut.
                                                                                               Private sales
                                            •Paper Products                               By April this year, the               Possible changes
                                                                                      territorial government was             It is possible, however, the
                                                                                      able to sell around 1,200           GN’s seal hunting program
    DISTRIBUTORS FOR: •The Grocery People                                             skins through private sales.        could see some changes in the
    •Dairyland •Canada Bread •Saputo Foods                                            Throughout 2008, another            future. In April, the territorial
                                                                                      3,000 to 4,500 were sold            government began a program
    •Maple Leaf Meats •Lilydale Poultry                                               through private sales and the       review, which includes look-
     and many other fine producers                                                    government’s dressed seal           ing at prices paid to hunters
                                                                                      skin program.                       for skins, and the minister
        Ph: 867-873-2364                                                                  Pelts sold for an average of    and cabinet are expected to
                                                                                      $55. The top price was listed       decide a new direction for the
        Fax: 867-873-6516                                                             at $100.                            program.
       347 Old Airport Road                                                                                                                                                                                                          NNSL file photo
                                                                                          Comparatively, the top             Currently, each hunter is
     Yellowknife, NT X1A 3T4                                                          price paid from 2006 harvest        guaranteed between $25 and              No seal pelts from Nunavut were sold by the Fur
                                                                                      was $121.29, with pelts selling     $65 per seal pelt, depending            Harvesters Auction due to the ban on seal skins by E-mail:                                       for an average of $69.33.           on the size and quality.                the European Union.