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Lars FLEISCHER - Mayor of the commune of Oqaatsut and Directeur of the fisheries

Oqaatsut - Latitude 69 20 NR - Longitude 050 39 W

43 inhabitants

Interviewed in September 2009

 

For the last twelve years, we have been confronted with an exodus of the inhabitants of our community, towards the large town of Ilulissat which is only fifteen kilometres away. This movement affects us profoundly, because with forty three inhabitants, we are one of the smallest villages in this part of the country. Our long term survival depends on our ability to reverse this trend. Our biggest challenge is economic. We must be able to maintain and create jobs. All ideas on this subject are welcome. In this respect, we intend to develop our fish processing plant, by introducing an area to taste our products. These are very much in demand, and the tourists will be able to get to know them, and to buy them on the spot. This should improve our sales, while at the same time improving the appeal of our town to tourists.

My experience and my training as a sailor have taught me that there have always been cycles. They may be reversed from one day to another, and in accordance with an unpredictable rhythm.

The fishermen’s catches are similar to those we had in the past, though it should be noted that the cod are bigger than they used to be. Our fish plant works on a communal basis. 24% belongs to an investment fund, and the remainder to the fishermen and to the employees of the plant. On that subject, and from an economic point of view, I hope that the new autonomy goes in the right direction. The party in power, which has just been elected, had in the past an opposite ideology from what it supports today. If it should give in to the temptation to return to its old ways, it would potentially be very bad for initiatives such as ours.

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