Sheryl Fink: Survival of seals at high risk due to global warming Putting a stop to the seal hunt is also vital in preventing them from becoming extinct

Sheryl Fink, Director of Seals Program of IFAW (Photo: IFAW/S.Cook)

Global warming is putting the survival of seals at risk. Launching the alarm is a study conducted by researchers at Duke University and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), published in PLoS ONE journal.
“One more reason to stop the hunt,” says activist Sheryl Fink.
According to data gathered by the researchers, the warming of the North Atlantic over the past 32 years has reduced at a rate of 6% per decade since 1979, the ice floes where “pagophilus groenlandicus” specimens reproduce. The study verifies a corresponding increase in mortality rates of seal pups not able to survive because they are not yet strong enough to swim.
“This study demonstrates that the impact of global warming on seals is dramatic, and not only in Canada,” Fink, IFAW’s Seals Program director and Huffington Post Canada blogger, tells Corriere Canadese/Tandem.
According to IFAW, in addition to the worrisome statistics are forecasts by Environment Canada and the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans of further ice reduction this year as well. IFAW is asking that Ottawa adopt a conservative approach.
“Seeing that we cannot control Earth’s warming,” Fink explains, “to prevent reducing seals to a species on the way to extinction, we must at least reduce the risks that come from the hunt.” The Canadian government will have to make a decision very soon, she insists, not only because the seal population is diminishing, but also because it’s an increasingly less profitable market. In December, Russia, Kazakistan, and Bielorussia imposed a ban on seal skin imports and exports – bad news for Canadian hunters. The Canadian Sealers Association has requested Ottawa’s intervention and is counting on mediation by Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, “who expressed concern on the issue and has asked Russia and other countries for an explanation,” an Association communiqué reads.
“Russia receives 90% of seal skin imports from Canada, and was considered the most important partner in the seal product market. Attempts to gain entry to markets in China have failed so far and it still doesn’t explain the economic reason we have to accept this inhumane practice.”

The Canadian Harp Seal beams for the camera
A Harp Seal smiles for the camera at Iles de la Madeleine in East Canada. Picture: Keren Su / Lonely Planet / Caters News

It’s not the first time that international relations with Canada have tensed due to the seal hunt. In February of last year, the Canadian government asked the World Trade Organization to intervene in a decision by the European Union to close the market to seal products such as skins, oil, and meat, with the exception of Inuit products.

Beyond the issues of preservation of the species and the increasingly less profitable market, IFAW is requesting a stop to the seal hunt because it is inhumane. IFAW activists are preparing to head to the Gulf of St. Lawrence for the coming season’s seal hunt from late February through March.
“We’ll document everything that happens until this cruelty is abolished,” the seal protection campaign director promises. “I witnessed scenes of incredible cruelty with my own eyes,” she says. “Seals struck in the face with hooks and dragged while still alive. Abandoned seal pups left to die on the shore. It’s unacceptable.”

Source: Tandem


~ by FSVSF Admin on 20 January, 2012.

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