Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 551

551 Arctic Yearbook 2014 community cohesion is shaped by the sea to provide while markets drive the feasibility of economic opportunity. The seal hunt as well as fisheries are the only economic opportunities in Woodstock and social ties are directly linked to the possibility to engage in these activities. Thus, increasing pressure on the exertion of the seal hunt contributes to a significant weakening of the socio-cultural fabric in seal hunting communities, thus in turn accelerating community dissolution. At the same time, also knowledge about the sea, its resources and its characteristics is no longer transmitted to the next generation putting local knowledge with regard to subsistence activities in jeopardy. Discussion and Conclusion Although the seal hunt is not the only element holding the community together, it is primarily the loss of knowledge and identity that indicates the important role of seal hunting in coastal communities in Newfoundland. The stereotypical depiction of the commercial seal hunt as merely an economic activity, the recognition of the cultural role of seals and sealing in Inuit societies, and the non-consideration of any socio-cultural aspects of the hunt in the discourse surrounding the sealing industry in Newfoundland points towards a bias in the debate. This bias appears to be based on ethnic rather than activity-based considerations, best exemplified by the fact that the socio-cultural role of the sealing industry has played a significant part in shaping Newfoundland’s identity, while it is discursively recognized as being of relevance for Inuit com ][