Canadian Tourism Boycott
Sealer clubbing seals
By boycotting tourism to Canada, especially to Newfoundland and the Magdalen Islands of Quebec, seal hunt opponents can pressure sealers and their supporters to change their stance on the seal hunt.
Some organizations are fighting to end the seal hunt by encouraging a boycott of all tourism to Canada. Harpseals.org supports these efforts but wishes to focus on tourism to the sealing provinces and regions. These are the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, from which most sealers hail, and the Magdalen Islands of Quebec. Prince Edward Island is home to a few sealers, too. In Nova Scotia, a smaller seal hunt takes place, the grey seal hunt, perpetrated by Nova Scotia fishermen/sealers.
We encourage those who oppose the seal hunt to let the Canadian government, Canadian tourist agencies, and operators of tourist establishments in Canada know that you are boycotting Canadian tourism until the seal hunt is banned permanently.
Visit our letters page for automated emails and contact information for several tourism boycott targets.
Harp Seal Tours
Because there are few things more captivating than baby harp seals living in their natural environment, there are several companies that take people to the Canadian ice floes to observe these animals. These seal watch tours take people over the majestic ice fields of Canada by helicopter. They land on sturdy ice floes and are able to walk right up to the seal pups.
At this time, Harpseals.org encourages tourists to participate in the Canadian tourism boycott and boycott all seal tours. When the seal hunt is banned, we will encourage tourism to the (former) sealing provinces to replace the sealing revenue.
However, those who are considering participating in a seal tour should also know that some seal tour companies are merely fronts for the sealers and sealing communities themselves. They capitalize on the beauty and charm of the harp seal pups in February and early March and then kill these seals in late March and early April.
One company, Natural Habitat Adventures, lied to a customer about its use of sealers. [See our update on the same page - Natural Habitat canceled its seal tours as a result of this customer's efforts (with the help of Harpseals.org).]
Seal tours that are based in the Magdalen Islands of Quebec directly support a small community of sealers. Some even hire helicopter pilots who also work for sealers in spotting seals to kill. Natural Habitat Adventures was the original tour operation traveling to the seals.
Travel Wild Expeditions was founded by Magdalen Islands residents who saw that seal tours were profitable and decided to set up a competing tour group. Other companies that are currently operating tours based on the Magdalen Islands and using the pro-sealing Chateau Madelinot as a home base, are the 'Great Canadian Travel Company' and Cartan Tours. Although Natural Habitat Adventures is not a Magdalen Islands-based company, it has based its tours out of the Magdalen Islands and the Chateau Madelinot hotel. It therefore has therefore supported sealers.
These revelations came to the fore during the 2003 Sea Shepherd ice campaign, when the crew undertook an investigation of another seal tour operation. When Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd approached a Travel Wild Expeditions harp seal tour group on March 9th, 2003, he found the tour guide wearing a wolf skin hat and was harshly questioned about why the Sea Shepherd crew had approached their group. Captain Watson then questioned two American tourists in the group. They were not aware of the escalation in the seal killing and told Capt. Watson that in the briefing they had received from their tour guides prior to coming to the ice, they were told that the seal populations needed to be reduced, and that the seals were responsible for the decline of the codfish populations and the destruction of the cod fishery. This is propaganda that the Canadian government used to spread but has stopped spreading due to contrary information from their own scientists.