Officials launch first Nunavut small craft harbour in Pangnirtung
"Fish catches will come off of boats more quickly"
Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak, along with federal officials, opened the $40.5-million Pangnirtung small craft harbour Sept. 18, with Aariak calling the port “a very positive step in the right direction.”
The port project, first announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper when he visited the community in 2009, included the construction of a fixed wharf, breakwater, marshalling area, sealift ramp and a dredged channel and basin.
The Pangnirtung Harbour Authority, established earlier this year, will now assume management of the new facility.
“It is my hope that this harbour here in Panniqtuuq is the start of a new effort that will see Canada’s marine infrastructure stretch from one end of the Arctic to the other,” Aariak said to those at the gathering, who also included Pangnirtung Mayor Sakiasie Sowdlooapik, Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq and Gail Shea, the federal minister of Fisheries of Oceans.
“The need to act is becoming ever more urgent. The eyes of many nations are turning to the North, and indeed the world has started showing up at our doorstep.”
Thanks to this new infrastructure, larger vessels will now be able to dock in Pangnirtung, she said.
“Offloading will no longer depend on tides. Fish catches will come off of boats more quickly, giving the fish plant a higher quality product.”
The economic benefits of this harbour go beyond Nunavut’s $80 million fishing industry, Aariak said.
“Cruise ships are arriving in our waters in increasing numbers. This harbour will make it easier and safer for more tourists to visit Panniqtuuq, learn more about life in our communities and contribute to the local economy.”
Shea said the new harbour in Pangnirtung will benefit the community “immensely.”
“Fishers in the area now have modern infrastructure to unlock the economic potential of the local inshore turbot fishery, summer commercial Arctic Char and other fisheries in Cumberland Sound.”