ISABELLA BAY (Nunavut)
Isabella Bay is about 100 kilometers south-southeast of Clyde River, on the northeast coast of Baffin Island. Designated in 2010, the Ninginganiq National Wildlife Area not only covers Isabella Bay, but also its islands, shores and the adjacent open water of the Davis Strait out to 12 nautical miles from shore. In the 19th century Isabella Bay had been an important center for whaling and this National Wildlife Area is still an important marine habitat –today a sanctuary- used for feeding and resting by adult and large adolescent bowhead whales during late summer and fall. Bowhead whales gather here to feed on the abundant copepod zooplankton blooms that occur in two deep troughs in Isabella Bay. The single largest concentration of bowhead whales in Canada has been recorded here with up to 100 whales. The Ninginganiq National Wildlife Area is Canada’s largest with more than 336,390 hectares. Although this is a sanctuary, resident Inuit have according to the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement the right to harvest wildlife on lands and waters throughout the Nunavut settlement area and therefor are allowed to hunt the whales, polar bears, ringed seals and narwhals found in Isabella Bay. King Eiders, Long-tailed Ducks, Little Auks and Northern Fulmars also call Ninginganiq (“the place where fog sits”) their home.