Inuit begin battle against seismic testing over fears it endangers marine life
By Kent Driscoll, APTN National News, July 23, 2014
Clyde River/Kanngiqtugaapik, Nunavut–More than 300 people in the small Baffin Island community of Clyde River, Nunavut, took to the streets Wednesday in protest of proposed seismic testing off the eastern shore of Baffin Island.
Seismic testing is where loud sonic guns are fired into the water and the echo helps to determine what resources are available under the seabed, typically oil.
The National Energy Board announced that the proposed testing has been delayed until 2015, but that didn’t limit the enthusiasm or turnout.
There are only 1,000 people who live in Clyde River and nearly one third of them turned up Wednesday afternoon for a march around the community’s Ring Road.
Like in many communities across the country, Clyde River residents believe seismic testing will injure the sea mammals they depend on for food.
Highly isolated, and lowly populated, Clyde River has some of the highest food costs in Canada.
Former MLA David Iqaqrialu was one of the loudest voices at the rally and believes seismic testing will hurt his people.
“We’re alive, we eat them (sea animals). I don’t want them to get hurt. We live here, Inuit. The animals live here too,” said Iqaqrialu.
Clyde River’s Mayor Jerry Natanine has been one of the leaders and organizers fighting the testing. He’s firm in his belief seismic testing will not help his citizens.
“I’m very proud. I’m very very proud of my community, they’re sticking up for themselves and for other Inuit”, said Natanine.
The five-year project to map the seabed of Baffin Bay will now start in 2015 and last for five years. It will map the entire Baffin Bay – the body of water between Greenland and Baffin Island.