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News About the Namibian Cape Fur Seal Slaughter

For reports from 2011 going forward, please visit the news sections for those years.

Cape fur seal dying
Cape fur seal dying. 2007.

News Reports: 2010

Two arrested in Taiwan with Namibian seal products

By: BRIGITTE WEIDLICH
May 12, 2010
The Namibian, namibian.com.na

POLICE in Taiwan have arrested two individuals for allegedly illegally importing over 200 barrels of oil from Cape fur seals from Namibia and nearly 500 boxes with another brand of oil processed from Namibian seals – altogether worth N$1,2 million.

Namibia does not have diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

According to the Taiwanese newspaper China Post, the products were imported by a company operating in Taiwan, Etosha Park & Co Ltd, and consisted of 216 boxes of seal oil with the brand name Meichiashan, 282 boxes of Baopai seal oil, 203 barrels of half-processed seal oil and 106 pieces of seal fur skins.

Fisheries Minister Bernhard Esau said his Ministry was unaware of the arrests in Taiwan and the large volumes of seal oil from Namibia confiscated there.

“I will follow this up and obtain the figures of the [local] seal products exported from Namibia,” Minister Esau told The Namibian yesterday.

“I will also obtain the details which company here in Namibia is culling for them and details about export permits,” Esau said.

He said he would have the details by Monday.

Taiwan Police found the goods last month “after searching a few places in Taipeh City and Hualien City” and surrounding areas, the China Post wrote.

Namibia made international headlines again last year for its annual seal-culling season from July to November. About 80 000 baby seals a year are clubbed to death and around 6 000 seal bulls are shot.

Seal products are the furs, oil, meat and the penises of the bulls, which are dried and sold as ingredients for traditional Chinese medicine, allegedly promising longevity for humans.

The European Union last year imposed a ban on all fur seal products, which will come into effect for this year’s culling seasons in Namibia, Canada and Greenland.

According to regulations in Taiwan, government approval was required to import such goods and to display such products in public.

The importers of the Etosha Park company apparently had a certificate of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) to import the products, the director of the Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST), Chen Yu-Ming, told reporters in Taiwan.

Cape fur seals fall into the Cites endangered species category, and importers of such products should obtain both Cites certificates and the Taiwanese government’s approval before selling them.

“The [Taiwan] Council of Agriculture (COA) has never received applications for imports of endangered fur seal products and thus the Etosha Park company has either unlawfully imported the products or advertised false content,” Chen told a press conference.

EAST also encouraged the Taiwanese public to participate in an online petition to request that the government start prohibiting imports of seal oil and relevant products. For more information, visit the website www.east.org.tw/petition_online.php.

 


 

Namibia: Fisheries Minister Announces Seal Cull

Brigitte Weidlich
allafrica.com
7 July 2010

THE controversial annual culling of 86 000 Cape fur seals along Namibia's coast, which started a few days ago, was important for the Namibian economy, Fisheries Minister Bernard Esau said yesterday.

"The sealing sector is important in terms of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employment and investment contributions," Esau told Parliament.

He said seal oil could be used in the industrial sector, while higher-grade oil could be used to produce margarine, soaps, cosmetics and paints.

The annual cull lasts from July 1 to November 15. The seal pups are usually clobbered to death with wooden clubs and the bulls are shot with rifles.

Namibia and Canada are the only two countries in the world that are still harvesting seals.

Recently Russia stopped the business and the European Union has banned imports of any seal products into its 27 member states.

Last year Namibia came under the international spotlight of animal rights groups for continuing with the annual sealing. This year, Seal Alert South Africa will lead a protest march in that country on July 17.

According to Esau, three concession holders were sharing the annual quota of 80 000 pups and 6 000 bulls and two processing plants exist in Namibia.

A new and larger investment for processing seal products could materialise soon, he added.

"Namibia is expecting the Harem Yavuz Group from Turkey, the biggest seals skin importer, to open a value-adding processing plant [in Namibia]," Minister Esau announced.

"This investment will result in a workforce of over 100 people," he added.

Locally produced seal oil, which is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, might soon be distributed in capsule form to all schools and school hostels as a health supplement, if consultations with the Education Ministry are successful.

The capsules were already sold in some countries, including Namibia, the minister added.

"Possible surgical implants from seal tissue have been on the table from an international scientific point of view and this will have a positive impact on human health globally and in Namibia," Esau stated.

"Usage of seal heart valves for human heart surgery has of late shown to be promising."

Defending the killing of seal pups in Namibia, Esau said although this had been labelled as 'inhumane' by animal activists, no animal rights groups had come up with proposals for alternative methods to kill them.

"Namibia shall continue with the sustainable management of all its natural resources, both living and non-living, including seals," he concluded.

Apart from fur jackets, shoes and bags made from sealskin, seals are also killed for their fat. The penises of seal bulls are dried and exported to Asian countries, where they are believed to increase the sexual potency of men.

 


 

Esau ‘impressed’ with first day’s seal cull

By: ADAM HARTMAN at WALVIS BAY
July 15, 2010
The Namibian, namibian.com.na

THE Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernhard Esau, for the first time experienced a day in Namibia’s annual seal cull at Cape Cross Seal Reserve on Tuesday, which started two weeks later than the stipulated culling season of July 1 to November 15, and according to him the event was “impressive”.

The minister was accompanied by two representatives of the SPCA, and according to one of them, Debbie Gibson, “if the cull continues in the way it did when we were there, then we have no problem”.

About 260 Cape fur seal pups were culled on the first day. Esau told The Namibian in an exclusive interview in Walvis Bay yesterday that he also visited a seal product factory at Henties Bay and was impressed with the process of manufacturing products like furs and seal oil.

A request by The Namibian last week for approval to enter the reserve to report on the cull, which was received by the office of the ministry’s permanent secretary, was apparently not approved because the minister did not see the request and had been out visiting the fishing industry since last week.

Asked why the cull had started so late, the minister said it was his prerogative as a minister to decide when the season starts.

Asked if the season would still close on November 15 as scheduled, he replied: “I cannot say, but it will be when I decide so.”

A rolling quota of 80 000 pups and 6 000 adult bulls was granted for the culls of 2010 to 2012. Asked if 260 pups in a day would fulfil this quota, the minister said the three concession holders for the three seal colonies along the Namibian coast –Cape Cross, Wolf Bay and Atlas Bay – will have enough seals to harvest to fill their annual quotas.

“It’s like this every time. When the culling starts, it may start off slowly, but the amount of seals killed each day will increase,” he said.

In a statement made to Cabinet recently, Esau said seal products had attracted investment and Namibia was expecting Hatem Yavuz group from Turkey, the biggest importer of seal skins, to open a local processing plant.

However, according to correspondence between Yavuz and South African seal-protection activist Francois Hugo of SA Seal Alert, Yavuz states: “I have already stopped the purchase of Namibian seals which were supplied by Norway and Canadian companies since December 2008 due to economic fallout we have in general stopped furs… I am not the one buying the raw skin, it’s always been the Norwegian and Canadian companies.”

When asked about this, Esau said his statement to Cabinet “was referring to history”, and although the marketing of furs was the onus of the concession holders, he had been assured that there were markets for Namibian seal products both locally and abroad. The minister also admitted that figures he had given at a recent press conference, that seal harvesting “contributed two per cent of Namibia’s GDP”, were wrong.

“If fisheries’ N$4,6 billion is five percent of the GDP, then the two per cent from the culling can’t be correct.

I take note of what you are saying and we will look into this,” he said.

When asked about Government’s unwillingness to allow the media to cover the annual seal cull, he blamed it on media “sensationalism”.

“The press want sensation, which creates the wrong impressions. Instead of reporting on the sustainable management and benefits of sealing, they bring out sensational stories of cruelty, tarnishing the image of a responsible scientifically monitored industry,” he said.

Gibson of the SPCA said although the culling was “horrible to watch”, the process was well co-ordinated and managed.

“Yes, the seals were clubbed and stabbed, but in a controlled way.

There was no breach of fisheries regulations from what we saw, and if it is done like this all the time we can have no problem,” she said.

 


 

News Reports: 2009

Buyout proposed

Postponement of slaughter

 


 

News Reports: 2008

News from Francois Hugo:

June 6, 2008

During and after my meeting with the Namibian Prime
Minister last year, the Ministry of Fisheries was claiming the seal
population had increased to its largest ever and therefore awarded their
highest pup kill quota. The sealing quota has risen 700% since Namibia
became independent in 1990. When I flew over the largest colony, 22 days
into the 139 day sealing season (which lies along the oldest desert in
the world, 1600km from my seal centre in Hout Bay), we found not a
single seal or pup left alive in the seal colony, which the Ministry
claimed numbered 300 000 seals before sealing started, just a few days
earlier. In other words, it was completely exterminated by Namibian seal
clubbers.

 


 

News Reports: 2007

Seals become trophies

Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - Web posted at 8:04:05 GMT

BRIGITTE WEIDLICH

SEALS living along the Namibian coast are being internationally advertised to trophy hunters, although they are listed as an endangered species under an international convention. Seals are also not on the official list of huntable game species in Namibia. A local hunting operator, Kataneno Hunt, is offering hunting trips to shoot Cape Fur Seal bulls.

On the Internet the proprietor of Kataneno Hunt, Heiko Binding, says that "hunting for Cape Fur Seal bulls at the coast not far from Swakopmund can be arranged, ideally with a fishing trip and/or a touristic (sic) trip from September 15 to November 15 only". The seal hunt is offered for 860 euros (about N$8 600) plus travel expenses and a lunch pack. It costs 300 euros (about N$3 000) extra per day for a local professional hunter to accompany the tourist. Accommodation is an additional expense.

The website is in German, French and English and two photos illustrate the seal hunt. One photo shows a hunter clad in camouflage gear lying behind a rock on the beach waiting for a seal bull, with a hunting guide next to him and a second photo where a shot bull is being examined. Kataneno Hunt is a registered member of the Namibian Professional Hunters Association (Napha), which has a list of 41 huntable species on its official website, but seals are excluded. The mission statement of Napha says: "Our intent is to ensure and promote ethical conduct, sustainable utilisation of natural resources, and to secure the industry for current and future generations." Napha further "insists that its members provide the highest standard of professional service to international hunting guests. They are expected to hunt strictly in accordance with the ethical principles as stipulated in Napha's Hunting Code. The Hunting Professional (HP) is at all times encouraged to act responsibly towards nature, wildlife and the local population," according to the mission statement.

As far as The Namibian could establish, no seal hunting concessions have been issued to any trophy-hunting company. An expert in the tourism and trophy-hunting industry who was contacted yesterday said he was "highly shocked and totally unaware of any seal hunting offered to tourists". According to the South African-based organisation Seal Alert, which discovered the seal trophy hunting and brought it to the attention of The Namibian yesterday, it was "shocking and harming Namibia's tourism sector internationally." Francois Hugo, who runs Seal Alert, said Namibia advertised the Cape Cross seal colony as the largest in southern Africa for sightseeing tourists in glossy brochures.

"Now they are also hunted, but it is not a proper hunt, the seals are very tame along the Namibian coast and are often sleeping on the beach. Is that trophy hunting, never mind ethical hunting principles?" Hugo was in Windhoek at the end of last week to give a presentation on how seal culling could be stopped in Namibia, which was attended by over 30 marine experts and scientists and officials from the Ministries of Fisheries and Environment and Tourism. * Last month, the South African Sunday newspaper Rapport alleged that another business, Cape Cross Lodge, was organising seal-hunt expeditions. In that case, the manager of Cape Cross Lodge, Leon Swanepoel, said the story was "wrong" and the the information "twisted".

 


 

Namibia's Seal Hunting Season Begins Amid War of Words

Friday , July 06, 2007
Associated Press

WINDHOEK, Namibia — Namibia's annual seal hunting season started this week, over the protests of animal rights activists who say the practice is cruel. The government accused the activists of "deliberately distorting information," and said controlling the seal population was important for both the fishing industry and to the people who worked in jobs created by the hunt.

The sparsely populated southern African country is famous for its wildlife and desert scenes along its Atlantic coastline, known as the Skeleton Coast. The estimated 850,000 seals live on a group of islands off the southern coast. The hunt started July 1 and runs for five months. The start follows an announcement by the government last week allowing for 6,000 adult males to be killed and upping the figure for pups by 20,000 from 2006 to 80,000.

The government argues the seals are consuming 900,000 tons of fish a year, more than a third of the fishing industry catch. The fishing industry's contribution to the country's GDP was five percent in 2005, according to the Bank of Namibia's annual report of 2006. The government maintains that the country's seal population is healthy and hunting will not lead to the extinction of the species.

But Seal Alert calls the method — clubbing, to maintain the quality of skins — inhumane, and points to other aspects of the hunt it says are cruel or unnecessary. Seal skins are used for leather goods and furs while the carcasses are disposed or turned into animal feed.

Seal Alert spokesman Francois Hugo also accused the government of barring press from the hunting areas to keep the world from focusing on it. Culling of seals in Namibia goes relatively unnoticed compared, for example, to the large hunts for the white harp seal in Canada.

Moses Maurihungirire, director of resources management in the fisheries and marine resources ministry, could not confirm there was an official ban on reporters in the hunting region. But reporters have found it difficult to get access to the remote and well-guarded sites. "Namibia is culling nursing pups still suckling on their mothers' milk, which have nothing to do with fish," Seal Alert's Hugo said. "The sealers are targeting male pups, which are bigger than the female. The irony of the matter is it is allowing the breeding cows to mate and raise their babies while consuming the same fish it says it is protecting. Namibia is just creating a surplus of female breeders," he added.

Nangula Mbako, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, said the government would not be deterred by Seal Alert's objections. He said Namibia used its natural resources in line with U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization guidelines. He said nations' economies "are hinged on the exploitation of living natural and nonliving natural resources. "The rural poor, women, children and the most vulnerable societies are the ones mostly affected by withholding exploitation of sustainably managed resources such as seals," said Mbako, adding that the seal culling industry created 149 jobs.

Hugo said the Namibian government was trying to push fish catches to levels of three decades ago of above 1.5 million tons a year. "This is now impossible, as the government keeps on increasing the fishing quotas. It's not the seals that are at blame here. It's the many trawlers on its waters," he said.

 


 

Namibia: Govt Pans Seal Rights Body

New Era (Windhoek) 5 July 2007

Posted to the web 5 July 2007 Petronella Sibeene

Windhoek Government has slammed animal rights body 'Seal Alert South Africa' and strongly defended its annual seal harvest, saying it is meant to preserve the ecosystem and economically benefit society. In a strongly worded statement, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources on Wednesday accused Seal Alert South Africa of rumour-mongering and falsifying information about Namibia's seal harvest.

This comes in the wake of Namibia's announcement of seal quotas this year. Cabinet approved an annual seal quota of 80 000 pups and 6 000 bulls for the new culling season which commenced last Sunday. The seal harvesting season is from July 1 to November 15 each year. Last year's mass die-off of seal pups was an indication that the quota should be reduced from previous years, when the quota was higher, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said last week.

Cabinet further approved that no selective harvesting of pups would be allowed. Even though this year's quota is lower, Seal Alert South Africa feels that it is still mass annihilation of sea animals. Fisheries and Marine Resources Permanent Secretary Nangula Mbako yesterday said that Namibia upholds and respects the opinions of animal welfare and conservation organizations. "But we are also aware of the fact that some individuals are opportunistically using this platform as a conduit for harnessing financial resources," she said.

Seal harvesting, as with all living natural resources in the country, is conducted in line with the principles of sustainable utilization, as advocated by the "Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries" of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. Mbako further said terminating the life of seals is not unique in as much as the same is practiced at abattoirs with cattle, chickens, birds, lambs and pigs, among others. Seal harvesting is an economic activity and cannot be stopped. The industry sustains about 140 jobs. Mbako said that in 1995, the ministry invited any entity that would provide any alternative approach for harvesting seals, but to no avail. "We have been waiting to hear from them after numerous requests to provide alternatives to the subject of their complaints. They have failed to be useful," she commented.

The permanent secretary reiterated that government believes in sustainable exploitation and utilization of resources. The animals harvested are dictated by the abundance of stock and based on the scientific evidence, necessary measures are taken to balance the ecosystem. "If the stock increases or decreases, measures based on available scientific evidence are taken to ensure balance. We do that with seals and other species," Mbako said. This year, the sustainable management of seals has guided the ministry to reduce the total allowable catch (TAC) of seal pups to 5 000. The step was taken based on the marginal reduction experienced in 2006 when most seals starved. "It will thus be illogical to leave seal abundance unchecked and out of proportion with the rest of the ecosystem components; this will in fact result in their perpetual demise," the permanent secretary added.

 


 

New Reports: 2006

Namibia: Seal Culling Season Sparks New Protests

July 5, 2006
By Elma Robberts

ABOUT 60 000 Cape fur seal pups will be stabbed or clubbed to death this year during Namibia's annual sealing season. From July to mid-November, 7 000 bulls will also be culled [killed] in what is claimed to be the second largest seal harvest in the world.

An international campaign, led by conservation group Seal Alert SA, is currently underway in an attempt to ban seal harvesting in Namibia, as was done in South Africa in 1990. "If Namibia and South Africa's Cape fur seals are the same species, why is the population not being managed as such under one policy?" asked Francois Hugo of Seal Alert SA.

In the United States, the stabbing and clubbing of nursing pups was prohibited in 1972 under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and all imports of Cape fur seal products were banned. In Namibia, seal pups that are still nursing are the chief target for culling. According to Hugo, female seals are not culled, as they have no commercial value.

The unnatural increase in the female breeding population was thus caused by human interference, said Hugo in a letter distributed to all relevant institutions in Namibia as well as concerned conservationists across the globe. The sealing quota in Namibia is shared between only two concession holders on two mainland colonies, Cape Cross and Atlas Bay, where 75 per cent of the seal population is born.

According to an investigation by Seal Alert SA, the entire season brings part-time employment to less than 160 unskilled migrant workers and in 2000, when 42 000 seals were culled, the commercial value was less than U$3 per seal. Starvation caused by overfishing led to two mass die-offs since 1990, during which one-third to half of the seal population starved to death, said Hugo.

Shortly after the 2000 harvest, which saw Namibia double its sealing quota to 60 000 seal pups, the mass starvation of 300 000 seals was announced, added Hugo. Despite that, the sealing season was extended since sealers were only able to harvest less than half the quota. Since then, hardly any information regarding the seal population, quotas and die-offs had been made public, he said.

According to Hugo, the Namibian Government offered the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) an opportunity to buy out the two sealers in Namibia to finally end the culling. The offer was rejected.

copyright 2006 The Namibian

 


 

Namibian seal cull is 'genocide'

July 9, 2006
www.iol.co.za
By Eleanor Momberg and Tabby Moyo

Windhoek - More than 60 000 seals are being culled in Namibia, sparking an international outcry from conservation bodies and animal rights activists, which have called the hunt genocide. The killing of 60 000 Cape fur cub seals and 7 000 bulls until November is the second largest seal harvest in the world. The largest annual harvest is in the Gulf of St Lawrence in Canada, where 325 000 were culled this year.

Namibia's fishing and marine resources ministry has justified its cull arguing the proliferation of seals poses a serious threat to the fishing industry, one of the country's major foreign currency earners and a creator of jobs, saying the high number of seals was depleting fishing stocks. 'Vehemently' opposed to the cull
"It is pure genocide what is going on up there," said Seal Alert SA's Francois Hugo, pointing out that the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species had also questioned how the Namibians could have exported 112 000 seal skins in 2002 when permits were issued for only 60 000.

It is estimated that there are between 800 000 and one million seals along the Namibian coast, and around two million along the South. The Canadian seal population is estimated at between five and six million. Animal rights activist were also opposed to the brutal method used to kill seals - clubbing of seal pups and the shooting of adults. Adult bulls are killed for their genitalia, sold in the Far East as an aphrodisiac. Fur coats, gloves and handbags are made from the pelts, and seal oil and carcass meal.

Hugo said culling of cubs and males had started at the Cape Cross colony on July 1, while culling at Atlas Bay was postponed. The sealing quota in Namibia is shared between only two concession holders on two mainland colonies, Cape Cross and Atlas Bay, where 75 percent of the seal population is born. These concessions expire at the end of 2007. South Africa stopped seal harvesting 1990. Cubs were not a threat to the fishing industry or population, said Hugo. "The crazy thing is that for the last 100 years they have been culling seals, except females and this caused an imbalance in the population. "There has been an unnatural increase in the number of females and that is why the numbers are growing. Seals left on off-shore islands do not show growth in population." If seals were dying from starvation it meant that over-fishing was the cause, he said.

"We have created this man-made mess. It does not benefit anybody. It is only responsible for 0,01 percent of Namibia's GDP annually, and creates part-time work for only 160 people annually."

Hugo has garnered the support of De Beers against this year's cull. In a letter to Seal Alert SA, De Beers said it would raise with the Namibian government the views of the international community, environmental organisations and concerned global citizens with regard to the seal populations of Namibia. The Wildlife Society of Namibia challenged its government to provide data that seals were indeed depleting the fish stocks. "The society queries the whereabouts of the scientific data (if any) which proves that the large number of seals living off our coastline are negatively affecting the fishing industry," it said.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare said they were "vehemently" opposed to the cull. "It is unacceptably cruel to cull seals," Ifaw said. This article was originally published on page 1 of The Cape Argus on July 09, 2006.

 


 

Response to De Beers letter and more details on the sealing, from Francois Hugo, Seal Alert-SA

There is one species of seal in southern Africa (South Africa and Namibia) known as Cape fur seals. Since the seal protection act of 1973, sealing has been conducted primarily on 3 mainland colonies. One in South Africa (Kleinsee which is a farm belonging to De Beers in the diamond restricted area in South Africa), the other is Wolf/Atlas Bays (again in diamond restricted area of Namibia, known as the sperrgebiet, of which De beers is in a 50/50 partnership with Namibia in a company that is called Namdeb and which has exclusive rights to mine this area). The other is in a nature reserve known as Cape Cross.

De beers does own the land in South Africa, but sealing has stopped in South Africa since 1990. Over a million seals were slaughtered there. De beers says it does not own the land at Wolf/Atlas Bay, but it does control the access and has exclusive mining rights. Over half a million seals have been slaughter there. However as they have publicly now stated that they are opposed to sealing, Seal Alert - SA, the main local organization campaigning for the Cape fur seals, which is run by Francois Hugo, sees this as a positive announcement and will try to work with De Beers to save the seals.

50% of Namibia's sealing Total Allowable Catch (kill quota) is still being killed within the restricted diamond area of the sperrgebiet managed by De beers (30,000 a year). Cameras and cellphones are not allowed into this area, but sealers can come in daily with guns, silencers, knives and clubs and murder nursing baby seal pups, which is illegal, every day for 5 months.

The Namibian seals have experienced three major mass die-off's from starvation in 1988, 1994 and 2000, mostly in the restricted area of Namibia, where one third to one half of the population was allowed to slowly starve to death. No rescue of any sort was ever attempted by De beers, Namibia or International conservation organizations.

Seals are banned from most islands, and are forced to bred on the mainland, to make the killing of them easier.

 


 

Reports of Senseless Slaughter of Seals and Other Marine Life by South African Fishermen

It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter. I had the opportunity to “ride along” with a commercial fishing boat from Hout Bay on the weekend to the snoek run off Olifantsbos which is towards Cape Point. The weather was perfect, despite the thick fog which made running out rather nerve wrecking for a person not knowing any better. The entire experience was generally a pleasant one, although the blood and butchering of the snoek species was borderline barbaric. It seemed unbelievable that the sea could sustain this heavy assault on the species.

The crux of this letter is as follows:

On our way out to the fishing area, one could almost follow the fleet from the constant trail of rubbish discarded by the craft ahead of us. We must have passed approximately 100 plastic cans of oil, lots soft plastic cooldrink bottles, empty cigarette boxes, discarded bait boxes and a general trail of rubbish. This saddened me as it must be easy to keep this in one place on the boat to be thrown away on shore.

One boat hooked a Mako shark. Once it was on the side of the boat, the fisherman clubbed it twice on its head so it was stunned, then lifted its tail out of the water, took a knife and cut the end of its tail off so that it could no longer swim and discarded tail and the semi-conscious shark into the water.

One boat hooked a seal in the mouth. The fisherman pulled its head out of the water, leaned out of the boat and proceeded to hit it on the head approximately 100 times until the seals head split open, blood splattering everywhere and then was cut free to sink into a pool of blood.

Whilst I was out there for a few hours, 8 seals were shot in the head by skippers of boats. The seals were coming close to the boat and the skippers would shot them to prevent them from stealing the snoek off the lines.

This sort of behavior is absolutely barbaric and unforgivable. I urge the powers that be to investigate these claims and act upon them. We constantly criticize foreign fisherman for their behavior towards whales, sharks etc, but our very own locals are behaving in just as atrocious manner. I was warned not to say anything to the skippers or fishermen for fear of my own safety.

The issue of discharging the weapons in public is clearly illegal. The SAPS should be investigating this.

The issue of animal cruelty in beating seal heads into a pulp is surely also illegal. What sort of person has it in their heart to perform such acts? How did that person become so barbaric and manage to carry such anger?

The issue of the shark is just as barbaric and devastating.

I remain under my pen-name of Bill for fear of my own safety and the safety of my family, but will keep on raising these issues until something is actively done about them.

Please could your organization act on this and see what / where you can be of assistance.

 


 

Thank you for sending me the letter, I also received it from other sources. Well done to Billfish for at least trying to do something. As those of us who are on the sea on a daily basis are aware this is an everyday occurrence, I have seen fishermen bait seals and then when the seal lifts it's head out of the water to take the fish they blow it's brains out. When I have confronted them, I have had knives pulled on me as have others.

It is also a common occurrence for "tailing" to take place with sharks. This is when they catch a shark, cut the tail, and then allow it to bleed to death so that it does not bother them again. Virtually every day this last week more than 2 tonnes of 30-50 year old soup fin sharks were being landed at Millars point. Shark long-lining is now legally taking place in False bay, the list just
goes on and MCM does F... all other than liberally handing out permits whilst scientists and others warn against it.

Two weeks back, I was involved in another battle when a well known sport fishing boat clubbed several great shearwaters to death to retrieve hooks, R1.50 hooks on a R2 million boat!!!

On many occasions, I have seen these wealthy fishermen club blue sharks etc. Some of these same fishermen are the ones who harass us at Seal Island encroaching on natural predations etc. In 1994, I was involved when Theo Ferreira had the balls to lay a charge against the seal shooters and they got a R200-00 fine and basically told us to f. off. Bottom line MCM through sheer and utter incompetence is to blame.

Instead of sending boats to check me for my commercial shark diving license where I have been operating within the law and educating foreigners about the beauty of sharks in a non consumptive way for over 12 years they should be enforcing the law with those who rape and pollute the sea.

I will forward this to as many people in the know that I can. Bottom line though is talk is cheap and we all need to get out there and make these people realise what they are doing is wrong and get MCM to be accountable for what is happening. I will raise this issue with MCM and as many foreign groups as I can. If we can't stop it, we will at least get as many people aware of it as we can so the public's " sorry for the poor fishermen attitude " can change to a "reap what you sow attitude".

Chris

 

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