The Seal’s Voice: Canadian seal hunts may disappear as international market for pelts shrinks & Seal hunt off Newfoundland ‘in a state of limbo’

Canadian seal hunts may disappear as international market for pelts shrinks

A young harp seal in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew VaughanThe decades-long war over Canada’s East Coast seal hunt may be winding down as opponents’ international lobbying shrinks the market for pelts.

“Right now we’re in a situation where we don’t have very many markets,” Jim Winter, president of the Canadian Sealers Association, told CTV News.

The sealing industry took a heavy blow when the European Union imposed a ban on commercial seal products in 2010 and last year Russia, a major market, joined the boycott. As sealers prepare for the spring hunt off Newfoundland and Labrador, Winter thinks it may not be worth their while.

“It’s a question of economics,” he said Monday. “If there is no market, no buyers, there’s not much point in taking the seals… Everybody’s looking at it and saying, ‘Well I’m not going to go if I can’t make money’ because that’s what it boils down to.”

Russia’s decision to join the EU ban may be the tipping point. CTV reports federal Fisheries Department figures show Russia took up to 90 per cent of harp seal pelts in recent years.

Sealing has been promoted as an important source of cash for East Coast fishermen still coping with the decline of the cod fishery and other blows to their livelihood. Proponents also argue that failing to manage the seal population threatens the revival of cod stocks. But opponents dismiss those claims and continue to criticize the hunt as inhumane.

CBC reported Darin King, Newfoundland and Labrador’s fisheries minister, was considering buying seal pelts and stockpiling them for future sale when markets improve.

Humane Society International/Canada condemned the idea in a news release Monday.

“I suspect there are few sealers who would want the sealing industry to be known as a glorified welfare program,” society executive director Rebecca Aldworth said in a statement. “But that is exactly what it has become.”

The humane society said if government paid a price that covered sealers’ costs, a stockpiling program would cost millions of dollars. The federal government paid $30 million in subsidies to prop up the industry in the 1980s and ’90s, the group said.

“More subsidies won’t save the sealing industry — they will just continue to artificially sustain a sham industry,” the society said in its release.

“Instead of pouring more public money into the seal slaughter, the Canadian government should make a one-time investment in a fair sealing industry buyout.”

Source: Daily Brew

Seal hunt off Newfoundland ‘in a state of limbo’

Apprehension is mounting as the opening looms for the largest part of the Canadian seal hunt, with fishermen saying there are few signs of what processors will be prepared to buy or pay.

“We’re pretty much in a state of limbo here now,” said Eldred Woodford, president of the Canadian Sealers Association.

The hunt on The Front – the traditional name given to the seal hunt off Newfoundland’s northeast coast, and near southern Labrador – is set to start in a few weeks.

However, Woodford said there have been no indications about how many seals buyers will take this year, or how much they’re willing to pay.

“Normally, we’ve got a fairly good idea on the volume the processors are looking for and a price at this time of the year, but there’s so many uncertainties in the industry that we’re pretty much out in the cold,” Woodford told CBC News.

Woodford said sealers are reluctant to buy supplies because they don’t know if the hunt will be worth their while.

Like recent years, the hunt this year will be a challenge. Markets in Europe have been devastated by a ban on imports, and some countries that had continued to buy seal products, notably Russia, have joined the ban.

In January, Newfoundland and Labrador Fisheries Minister Darin King said government was considering buying pelts for a stockpile that would be sold off if and when markets improve.

Source: CBC News

Against the Canadian seal hunt? There’s an app for that

This time, the Conservative government’s target is a free iPhone app put out by the Humane Society of the United States.

Released earlier this month, the Protect Seals app promotes American restaurants and grocery stores that have committed to “shift key bits (and in many cases all) of their seafood purchasing away from Canada” until the country’scommercial seal hunt comes to an end.

The app states:

The establishments listed on this app are doing one of three things: boycotting snow crabs from Canada, boycotting seafood from sealing provinces (Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Quebec), or boycotting all Canadian seafood. We welcome all of their efforts. Please thank them when you visit them!

The people who kill seal pups for profit in Canada are commercial fishermen. By avoiding seafood they catch, we are sending a clear message to Canada: “We won’t buy while seals die.”

Users can also take a pledge to “not buy Canadian seafood”.

Since all of the businesses featured in the app’s maps and lists are south of the border, the closest “seal-friendly” establishment to Vancouver is a Mexican joint called La Cantina in Blaine, Washington.

Of course, there’s always Metro Vancouver’s vegan restaurants to dine at. They don’t serve Canadian—or even American—seafood.




~ by FSVSF Admin on 6 March, 2012.

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