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Nunavut's capital besieged by wind-blown sea ice

CBC NewsEye on the Arctic

The shores of Iqaluit, the capital of Canada's eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut, are blocked with ice, stretching about 200 kilometers (124 miles) out into Frobisher Bay, keeping hunters and campers stuck in the city.

The build-up of ice is the result of southerly winds pushing it inland. The ice that's coming in is old, hard, and tricky to maneuver through.

Harry Flaherty, president of Qikiqtaaluk Corporation, said everyone is feeling the impact in the community of approximately 6,700 people.

"It's affecting the local hunters, the campers. It's the long weekend coming up and the clam digging coming up, and if this ice stays around they won't be able to go out too far."

Kowmagiak Mitsima said summer ice conditions like this don't happen often in Iqaluit.

"But it's normal," he said. "It's been like that before in the '70s, '80s, '90s. But it still gives us a problem hunting."

And it's not stopping him from hunting.

"Well if there's a way to get out, we will," he said. "You got to watch what you are doing. You can go by the low tide -- it's open on the outside about a mile from here, it's still open."

Canadian Coast Guard officials say the ice is not likely to leave any time soon.

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This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.