The Seal’s Voice: Does the Canadian flag symbolize the blood of seals?


Reckless seal hunt quota threatens survival of Harp Seals

A baby seal threatened by murder in Canada.

Humane Society International/Canada condemns the reckless 2012 seal hunt quota set by Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield, which allows for the slaughter of 400,000 harp seals. The irresponsible quota comes as poor ice conditions and high mortality rates threaten the survival of harp seal populations off Canada’s east coast.

“In setting this reckless quota, Minister Ashfield has blatantly ignored the scientific advice from his own department and clearly, political agendas have once again trumped conservation in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans,” said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International/Canada. “Given the devastating impacts of climate change on the ice dependent seals, a responsible government would take immediate action to protect seal populations through a federal sealing industry buyout, instead of encouraging the pointless slaughter of hundreds of thousands of defenseless seal pups.”

Just weeks ago, a leading Canadian government scientist publicly called for a reduction in the harp seal quota of at least 100,000 to address the impacts of climate change on these ice dependent animals in recent years. Environment Canada predicts that by the time the sealing seasons open in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and northeast of Newfoundland respectively, there will be little sea ice remaining in these regions.

Independent scientists warn that reckless kill levels authorized by the Canadian government, paired with the impacts of climate change on the ice dependent harp seals, poses a serious ecological threat to the survival of harp seal populations.

Last year, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, and Belarus prohibited the import and export of fur from harp seals, the primary targets of Canada’s commercial seal slaughter. The United States and the European Union – Canada’s two largest trading partners – have also ended their trade in seal products.

Global markets for seal products are closing fast and Canada increasingly stands alone in its promotion of the seal slaughter. HSI/Canada calls on the Canadian government to support a federal buyout of the commercial sealing industry, which would compensate fishermen for lost income as the seal slaughter comes to and end, and invest public money in developing economic alternatives in the communities involved.


– Government landings reports confirm that more than 98 percent of seals killed in Canada’s annual slaughter are less than three months of age.

– Veterinary reports consistently reveal high levels of animal suffering in commercial sealing, and leading veterinary experts have suggested in recent years that Canada’s commercial slaughter is inherently inhumane.

– Sealers are commercial fishermen who, on average, earn less than 5 percent of their annual incomes from sealing killing seals – the remainder comes from seafood such as crab, shrimp and lobster.

– Nearly 6,000 establishments, and more than 750,000 people, have joined a global boycott of Canadian seafood products that will continue until the seal slaughter ends. The boycott has already cost the Canadian economy many times the value of the seal slaughter.

– National polling consistently shows the overwhelming majority of Canadians want the commercial seal slaughter to end, and oppose the Canadian government using tax dollars to promote the sealing industry.

– Polling shows half of Newfoundland sealers and the majority of Newfoundlanders, holding an opinion, support a federal sealing industry buyout.

Source: bikyamasr

Seal quota up while market plummets

A group of seals seal gather on the ice on the Northwest Arm in Halifax in February 2011. (TIM KROCHAK / Staff / File)

A group of seals seal gather on the ice on the Northwest Arm in Halifax in February 2011. (TIM KROCHAK / Staff / File)

Fisheries and Oceans Canada will allow 400,000 harp seals to be killed this year as it extends a record seal hunt quota despite plummeting demand.

Environmental groups are angered by the large quota and argue the federal government is playing politics to win Atlantic votes. Meanwhile, the reality of the hunt has long since diverged from quotas. In 2011, under the 400,000 quota, only 10 per cent were actually harvested.

As overseas markets have dried up, the hunt has dwindled by about 90 per cent since 2004. Profits dropped with it. In 2004, $12.8-million worth of seal products were exported. In 2010, the last year for which data is available, exports only reached $2.17 million.

But that hasn’t stopped this year’s quota from being contentious.

“Politics is once again trumping conservation in the (fisheries department),” said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of the Humane Society International/Canada.

The decision to retain the quota is an attempt to “appear as though the government is doing something for coastal communities,” she said.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare said the government continues to refuse to protect marine resources.

Both groups point to a recommendation by fisheries department scientist Mike Hammill, who suggested the quota should be cut to 300,000 because the seal population is declining. Hammill’s research found that decreasing sea ice is pushing the seal population farther north and that mortality rates are rising and birth rates are dropping.

The department says its decision to continue the 400,000 quota was guided by both science and “the unanimous recommendation from industry representatives.”

Fisheries and Oceans estimates there are just under eight million harp seals, almost four times the 1970 population.

The quota for hooded seals also remains unchanged at 8,200.

Source: Herald News

Animal groups decry seal hunt quota

A grey seal mother and pup lie on the snow as sealing boats arrive during the first day of the hunt on Hay Island, Nova Scotia, February 24, 2011. REUTERS/Paul Darrow
A grey seal mother and pup lie on the snow as sealing boats arrive during the first day of the hunt on Hay Island, Nova Scotia, February 24, 2011. REUTERS/Paul Darrow

MONCTON, N.B. – Animal welfare goups are outraged after the federal government announced this week a 400,000 pelt quota for this year’s seal hunt, set to begin Monday.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada said its research shows the seal population on the east coast continues to explode, justifying the number.

“The harp seal population is currently estimated at just under 8 million animals. This is almost four times what it was in the 1970s,” said department spokeswoman Melanie Carkner.

Animal activists disagree with not only the government’s numbers, but also the approach to exploit what is seen as a dying market.

“Markets for seal products are disappearing, and seals need protection from threats like climate change more than ever, but Canada’s department of fisheries and oceans is ignoring its own scientific advice,” said Sheryl Fink of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Last spring, sealers only harvested 38,000 seals, less than 10% of the allowable catch.

The industry has been hit hard in the past few years by the closing of markets in the European Union and most recently Russia.

In 2011, there were approximately 14,000 commercial licences issued to sealers, but only an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 of those were active.


Seal hunt must be stopped to save marine ecosystem

Federal Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield’s announcement of the 2012 harp seal TAC (total allowable catch) is proof the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO)’s decisions are based on political expediency rather than science.

In setting a TAC of 400,000, Ashfield has ignored the advice of his own research scientist and head of marine mammal section.

DFO’s Dr. Mike Hammill recently stated the harp seal herd is declining due to vanishing sea ice.

Seals require ice to birth and nurse their young, and successive years of vanishing ice have caused massive pup mortality. Hammill further advised the minister that a TAC in excess of 300,000 would be unsustainable.

DFO has stated the 400,000 TAC was guided in part by ‘the unanimous recommendation from industry representatives.’

In short, the fisheries minister ignored the advice of his head marine mammal scientist and set the unsustainable TAC at the request of sealing/fishing industry lobbyists.

This is not the ‘science-based precautionary approach’ to fisheries management DFO claims.

This is a blatant sacrifice of our marine ecosystem to buy east coast votes.

Ashfield must call an immediate halt to the commercial seal hunt and save our marine ecosystem, which has been severely damaged by years of DFO mismanagement.

Bridget Curran

Atlantic Canadian Anti-Sealing Coalition



~ by FSVSF Admin on 28 March, 2012.

One Response to “The Seal’s Voice: Does the Canadian flag symbolize the blood of seals?”

  1. This is so sad. What they Do for Profit is so sicking!

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