Commercial harvests of the Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) and King Eider (S. spectabilis) was studied at the local market in Nuuk (southwest Greenland) during the hunting season (Oct.-May) in 2000 and 2001. The goal was to quantify composition (species, sex and age), sources (hunting or bycatch), and spatio-temporal distribution of the harvest. Hunting within 30 km of the city was the source of 98% of all eiders sent to market from October until March. In contrast, bycatch in gillnets accounted for 52% of the eiders brought to the market in March and April. In April, most bycatch were from remote fjord habitats, which seem to hold a high proportion of adult Common Eiders. As measured by the removal of potential reproductive eiders, the spring harvest (April and May) was critical for the Common Eider, while the impact of harvest was highest during midwinter (January and February) for the King Eider. Sympatric distributions within hunting areas complicate management of both species. Spring hunting and gillnet bycatch are of high management concern.
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Vol. 27 • No. 4