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* Decline in Nunavut sealing

* 6,000 seal pelts were discarded in the ocean

* Sweden proposes seal hunt

* Baby seal cull in Namibia hampered by import bans

* Namibian seal hunt is new Canadian seal hunt

* Norwegian sealer laments dying seal hunt

* South African MP calls for Cape fur seal kill

* Sealers Assoc. says 2013 seal hunt best in years

* Canada announces sealing quota finally

* Photos of the seal 'hunt'

* Start of sealing announced

* Carino given Newfoundland tax money

* Carino awarded second Newfoundland loan

* Hay Island, NS seal hunt cancelled

* Seal pups on PEI bludgeoned to death



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The Canadian Seal 'Hunt' 2013 and the Namibian Cape fur seal slaughter 2013

Note: we reprint articles as they are written, complete with erroneous information. We urge those who care about seals to educate themselves by perusing the various sections of our website.



As local fur demand rises, mysterious drop in Nunavut seal harvest
Number of sealskins harvested has fallen by more than half since EU sealskin ban in 2009

CBC News
Dec 18, 2013

Inuit with dead ringed seal - Canadian Press
Inuit hunters walk by a ring seal they caught through the ice on Frobisher Bay near Iqaluit, Nunavut. Seal hunters in Nunavut are now selling fewer than half the number of skins than before the European Union seal ban. (Canadian Press)

The number of sealskins harvested in Nunavut has fallen by more than half since the European Union banned seal products in 2009, but the reason for the drop in the harvest remains a mystery because the price paid to hunters for their furs has remained the same, and local demand for sealskins is at an all-time high.

In the past, Nunavut hunters sent 8,000 skins to auction per year, but that number dropped to just 3,000 after the European Union imposed its seal ban in 2009.

“We don’t really know if this reflects a decline in seal numbers or if it’s more the result of decreased hunter effort brought about by lower sealskin prices or whether there are fewer hunters pursuing seals right now, or if it’s a combination of multiple factors,” said Devin Imrie, Nunavut’s acting director of fisheries and sealing.

Imrie said the EU seal ban had the effect of cutting worldwide sealskin prices in half, from about $60 a pelt to $30. However, the Nunavut government continued to pay hunters the same rates as before, between $25 and $60 a pelt.

But “$60 is less money than it used to be,” Imrie said.

Across Nunavut, territorial conservation officers in local wildlife offices buy sealskin pelts from hunters. The pelts are shipped to the Fur Harvesters Auction in North Bay, Ont., where they’re tanned and sold to market.

Ring seals may be in decline

This fall, the Nunavut government started buying harp seal pelts, as well as ring seal pelts, to make up for falling numbers. Traditionally, Inuit prefer to eat ring seals; harp seal meat was considered less tasty and generally fed to sled dogs.

There is currently no population data on ring seals in Nunavut, though hunters have reported lower numbers. Ring seal populations, Imrie said, are notoriously difficult to calculate because the animals spend so much time in or under ice and aren’t easy to spot by air.

The harp seal population shared by Nunavut and Newfoundland is now at a record high of nine million animals, in part because of the decline in the East Coast seal hunt. The majority of those seals spend the summers in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, which means seal hunters in the southeastern Baffin communities are seeing plenty of harp seals.

Sealskin demand still unmet in Nunavut

The decline in sealskin harvesting comes at a time when demand for sealskins in Nunavut is at an all-time high.

Seal skin boots
This pair of sealskin 'kamiks' is for sale on Facebook for $450, but the price is likely to go even higher. (Jas Iqqaat/Facebook)

“We’ve seen a steady increase in demand for tanned sealskins within Nunavut,” Imrie said. “Sealskin garments are really in fashion now in Nunavut.”

Last year, the government of Nunavut sold 2,000 tanned, locally harvested sealskins back to Nunavummiut, but seamstresses and artisans are still calling for more. A pair of handmade sealskins boots, known as kamiks, can sell for hundreds of dollars on Facebook. Fur mitts, coats, vests and jackets are also in demand, and workshops to learn traditional sewing are popular.

Imrie said the government recognizes and supports the arts and crafts industry, but the government's overall marketing strategy calls for reserving at least one third of the overall sealskin hunt to sell outside of Nunavut, to ensure that the wider market for skins continues to exist.

That means that if Nunavummiut want more sealskins, they’ll have to harvest more.

“We’re really only limited by the number of sealskins we’re actually purchasing,” Imrie said.

People who live in Nunavut can order tanned sealskins, at cost, from the Fur Harvester’s Auction in Thunder Bay, Ont. The Nunavut government picks up the tab for shipping. The government also offers tanned and dyed sealskins at cost to local businesses, sewing groups and other organizations.

Fox, wolf, wolverine furs fetch $1M at auction

Meanwhile, Nunavut residents took in over $1 million a year in the last two years from the sale of other furs. Those are the two highest grossing years on record for Nunavut hunters and trappers.

“The demand for foxes, wolves, wolverines, and polar bears is exceptionally high right now and we expect that to continue,” Imrie said.

Conservation officers buy fur pelts from harvesters in all Nunavut communities. In some cases, they forward part of the proceeds to the hunter on the spot, reimbursing the remainder of the purchase prices once the fur is sold at auction.



TRANSLATED with help from translate.google.com and freetranslation.com. See original article below this text.

Exclusive : Remains of seals at sea [Seal pelts discarded at sea]

Johanne Fournier
special collaboration
the Sun
Published November 15, 2013 05:00 AM | Updated November 15, 2013 at 8:56

(Magdalen Islands, Quebec) While the seal hunt remains a controversial industry, The Sun has learned that over the past three years, the fur and fat of 6,000 seals killed by hunters from the Magdalen Islands were abandoned on the ice or thrown into the water .

Sealer about to kill seal pup - photo Yoanis Menge
6000 peaux de phoques ont été jetées dans les eaux des Îles-de-la-Madeleine. Collaboration spéciale Yoanis Menge
6,000 seal pelts were thrown in the water of the Magdalen Islands. Special collaboration with Yoanis Menge.

"Ideally, hunters are asked to find a watering hole to throw the discard, especially to prevent animal rights activists flying over in their helicopter from thinking we are going to remove the fur from the seal while he is still alive" says the director of the Association of sealers of the Magdalen Islands, Gil Thériault .

As to whether this practice is ethical, a spokesman for the sealers replied that this is due to the lack of market for the skin and fat . "We'd better sell the beast in full," he says.

In fact, the harp seal industry of the Magdalen Islands is in bad shape since the closure of the company Tamasu and the decree in 2009, of the European embargo prohibiting the sale of seal products. Tamasu was a company of the Magdalen Islands that processed the skin and fat of the seals. It ceased operations in 2007 after a fire in the factory.

Hunters could not turn to Newfoundland , which has the necessary equipment for processing of hides and marine mammal fat. According to Gil Thériault, it is because the seal industry in this province receives a subsidy from the government for the processing of the skins. "As the quota was not reached, the Newfoundland industry would not take the skins of Quebec,," says spokesman Magdalen . "This is normal."


But above all, the source of their unhappiness comes from animal rights activists, says Mr. Thériault . "One of the big problems we have are the sensational animal rights campaigns produced with many millions of dollars," protested Gil Thériault .

He considers that the bad fortune of its members is even more unacceptable based on the fact that the fur industry is doing very well in the world. "It sells $15 billion in furs on the planet," says Mr. Thériault. " It has never been so popular and in demand !"

In 2007-2008, a sealer could get $ 100 per skin. The following year, the price dropped to around $30. "Yet a sealskin quality A1 can sell $ 190 on the market, said the director of the Association. Unlike mink, for example, the seal hunt is variable. In addition, it is a dangerous job."

If sealers do not find takers for the skin and fat of their catch, they can at least count on a flourishing market and growth generated by the processing of the meat of the harp seal. Moreover, the butcher Côte à Côte of the Magdalen Islands has developed an array of fine products of seal meat . According to the director of the Association of sealers, the demand is greater than supply." The butcher transformed the meat of about 1500 animals per year, but it could be 5000," says Mr. Thériault .

Open for twelve years, the trade sells its products across Quebec. The butcher offers more than a dozen meats and preparations of seals,, including pieces of raw meat, rillettes, pâtés, preserves, terrines and sausages.

Expected WTO decision

The World Trade Organization (WTO) will soon make its decision on the legal reasons given by the European Union to ban the import of seal products .

"The animal rights activists have opened a rift by focusing on the immorality of the seal hunt, which would set a precedent, denounced the director of the Association of Magdalen Island sealers, Gil Thériault. If it is immoral to kill a seal, it is immoral to kill an ox or a pig, to gorge geese and use bulls for bullfights . These are extremists! We are talking about terrorists with bombs, but it is also worse! Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, but it is immoral to kill seals? It's too much."



Exclusif: Résidus de phoques à la mer

Johanne Fournier
Collaboration spéciale
Le Soleil
Publié le 15 novembre 2013 à 05h00 | Mis à jour le 15 novembre 2013 à 08h56

(Îles-de-la-Madeleine) Pendant que la chasse au phoque demeure une industrie controversée, Le Soleil a appris qu'au cours des trois dernières années, la fourrure et la graisse des 6000 phoques abattus par les chasseurs des Îles-de-la-Madeleine ont été abandonnées sur la banquise ou jetées à l'eau.

«Idéalement, on demande aux chasseurs de trouver un trou d'eau pour les jeter, surtout pour éviter que des animalistes qui survoleraient avec leur hélicoptère pensent qu'on est en train d'enlever la fourrure du phoque pendant qu'il est encore vivant», raconte le directeur de l'Association des chasseurs de phoques des Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Gil Thériault.

À savoir si cette pratique est éthique, le porte-parole des chasseurs de phoques répond que cette situation est due à l'absence de marché pour la peau et la graisse. «On aimerait bien mieux vendre la bête au complet», explique-t-il.

Dans les faits, l'industrie du loup-marin des Îles-de-la-Madeleine est mal en point depuis la fermeture de l'entreprise Tamasu et le décret, en 2009, de l'embargo européen interdisant la vente des produits du phoque. Tamasu était une entreprise des Îles-de-la-Madeleine qui transformait la peau et la graisse du phoque. Elle a cessé ses activités en 2007 après l'incendie de son usine.

Les chasseurs n'ont pas pu se tourner vers Terre-Neuve, qui dispose des équipements nécessaires à la transformation des peaux et des graisses du mammifère marin. De l'avis de Gil Thériault, c'est parce que l'industrie du phoque de cette province reçoit une subvention de son gouvernement pour le traitement des peaux. «Comme son quota n'était pas atteint, l'industrie terre-neuvienne ne voulait pas prendre des peaux du Québec, commente le porte-parole madelinot. C'est normal.»

Mauvaise fortune

Mais par-dessus tout, l'origine de leur malheur provient des animalistes, croit M. Thériault. «Un des gros problèmes qu'on a, ce sont les campagnes animalistes sensationnalistes à coup de millions de dollars», s'insurge Gil Thériault.

Celui-ci considère que la mauvaise fortune de ses membres est d'autant plus inacceptable du fait que l'industrie de la fourrure se porte très bien dans le monde. «Il se vend pour 15 milliards $ de fourrures sur la planète, estime M. Thériault. Ça n'a jamais été aussi populaire et en demande!»

En 2007-2008, un chasseur de phoques pouvait obtenir 100 $ par peau. Les années suivantes, le prix a chuté à environ 30 $. «Pourtant, une peau de phoque de qualité A1 peut se vendre 190 $ sur le marché, estime le directeur de l'Association. Contrairement au vison d'élevage, par exemple, la chasse au phoque est variable. De plus, c'est un métier dangereux.»

Si les chasseurs de phoques ne trouvent pas preneurs pour la peau et la graisse de leurs prises, ils peuvent au moins compter sur un marché florissant et en croissance généré par la transformation de la viande de loup-marin. D'ailleurs, la boucherie Côte à Côte des Îles-de-la-Madeleine a développé une panoplie de produits fins à base de chair de phoque. Selon le directeur de l'Association des chasseurs de phoques, la demande est plus forte que l'offre. «Le boucher transforme la viande d'environ 1500 bêtes par année, mais il pourrait en prendre 5000», soutient M. Thériault.

Ouvert depuis douze ans, le commerce vend ses produits à la grandeur du Québec. La boucherie propose plus d'une dizaine de charcuteries et de préparations à base de phoque, dont des morceaux de viande crue, des rillettes, des pâtés, des confits, des terrines et des saucisses.

Décision attendue de l'OMC

L'Organisation mondiale du commerce (OMC) devrait bientôt faire connaître sa décision entourant les raisons morales invoquées par l'Union européenne pour interdire l'importation des produits dérivés du phoque.

«Les animalistes ont ouvert une brèche en misant sur l'immoralité de la chasse au phoque, ce qui serait un précédent, dénonce le directeur de l'Association des chasseurs de phoques des Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Gil Thériault. Si c'est immoral de tuer un phoque, c'est immoral de tuer un boeuf ou un porc, de gaver des oies et d'utiliser des taureaux pour les tauromachies. Ce sont des extrémistes! On parle des terroristes avec des bombes, mais c'est aussi pire! La prostitution est morale aux Pays-Bas, mais c'est immoral de tuer des phoques? C'est fort.»



EPA wants to authorize a licensed seal hunt

Published: onsdag 26 juni kl 16:33 (June 26, 2013), Radio Sweden

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has asked the government to authorize a

seal in Swedish waters. photo by Janerik Henriksson
Photo: Janerik Henriksson

seal hunt to limit a growing seal population along the Swedish coasts that they say is damaging the fishing industry, reports Swedish Radio news.

But Mikael Karlsson, from the Society for Nature Conservation, is against the proposal. "We've waited until the population is big and strong before trying to authorize a hunt that lacks motives," Karlsson says.

He says the fishing industry does more damage to the fish population than seals do.

A current wildlife control hunt in place for seals allows for the hunting of up to a few hundred every year.

It is still unclear how many seals would be hunted in any eventual licensed hunt.



Baby Seal Cull in Namibia Hampered by Import Bans, IFAW Says

By Kevin Crowley and Felix Njini
Bloomberg News
July 24, 2013

killed Cape fur seal pups
In Namibia, the seals are usually culled at Atlas Bay and Cape Cross, where Portugal's Diego Cao, the first European to land in Namibia, came onshore in 1486 [note: photo in original article was not of a Cape fur seal. This photo shows the killed Cape fur seal pups.]

Namibia will struggle to meet its quota of killing 80,000 baby seals this year as import bans in the European Union, the U.S. and Russia cut demand for fur products, the International Fund for Animal Welfare said.

“People are more aware of the cruelty involved and that’s resulted in import bans around the world,” Sheryl Fink, director of IFAW’s seal campaign, said in a telephone interview from Toronto yesterday. “It’s not an industry that’s commercially viable.”

The south-west African country, the second-biggest hunter of seals behind Canada, begins its annual seal cull this month as it seeks to boost fish populations and profit from selling pups’ fur and adult male penises, which are used as an aphrodisiac in Asia. Animal rights groups oppose the cull because they say it’s inhumane and are demanding the practice be ended.

Namibia will allow hunters to kill as many as 86,000 Cape Fur seals this year, the same quota as in 2012, including 6,000 adult males, said Bernhard Esau, Namibia’s minister of fisheries and marine resources, by telephone from Windhoek. Seal pups’ fur is used to make boots and hats.

“If we don’t harvest the seals, this will create an imbalance in our marine ecosystem and eventually it will impact negatively on fish stocks and the entire fishing industry is threatened,” Esau said. Fishing is Namibia’s second-biggest export industry after mining, mainly diamonds and uranium, according to the ministry’s website.

Wooden Bats

Seals consume 700,000 metric tons of fish a year, more than the country’s total fishing quota, Esau said. The allowable catch for hake, which is exported to Europe, and horse mackerel, sold to countries in southern and western Africa, is 140,000 tons and 350,000 tons respectively.

IFAW rejects that killing seals will boost fish stocks. “There hasn’t been a single case where killing seals or whales anywhere in the world has resulted in an increase in the prey population,” Fink said. “There are more than two species. If seals are killed then other species will step in and may eat even more fish.”

The Namibian hunt is particularly cruel as it is targeted at seals of between seven and 10 months old, who are still nursing, Fink said. They are separated from their mothers and clubbed to death with wooden bats as they run toward the sea, she said.

“We have always appealed to animal rights organizations to come to us during off seasons such that we conduct trials on harvesting methods they think are more humane,” Esau said.

Cheap Pelts

In Namibia, the seals are usually culled at Atlas Bay and Cape Cross, where Portugal’s Diego Cao, the first European to land in Namibia, came onshore in 1486. As many as 210,000 seals converge on Cape Cross, which lies on the Atlantic Ocean north of the town of Swakopmund, at a time.

Seal hunts around the world show “repeated examples of cruelty that cannot be alleviated by regulation,” Fink said.

About 69,000 harp seals were killed in Canada last year, out of a quota of 400,000, according to the country’s department of fisheries and oceans. The price of a seal pelt has dropped to between $25 and $30 from $120 in 2006 due to the import bans around the world, making hunting less commercially attractive, Fink said.

The number of seals killed in Namibia last year was likewise “significantly lower” than the government’s quota, Fink said. “This demonstrates the lack of markets and lack of demand for seal products,” she said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Kevin Crowley in Johannesburg at kcrowley1@bloomberg.net; Felix Njini in Windhoek at fnjini@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net



Namibian Seal Hunt Is The New Canadian Seal Hunt

The Huffington Post Canada
Posted: 07/22/2013 3:30 pm EDT

Cape fur seal pup - Getty
Cape fur seal pup. Getty image

A newly released video is putting focus on the only seal hunt in the southern hemisphere.

The graphic footage of the Namibian seal hunt, released by the group Earthrace Conservation, shows the clubbing of young pups. The group says the video was captured covertly in 2011 and released after the Namibian government did not respond to a request to halt the hunt.

The annual quota for Cape fur seal pups in Namibia ranges between 80,000 and 90,000 animals, with an additional quota of between 6,000 and 7,000 bulls. In 2012, the quota for the Canadian harp seal hunt was 400,000 animals.

Canada and Namibia are the only two countries to permit the clubbing of seals, according to Earthrace. Annual hunts also take place in Russia, Norway, Iceland and Greenland, but under different rules. It is difficult to know, however, whether clubbing still takes place to some extent during the European hunts.

Namibia has stressed in the past that the seal hunt is aimed at protecting fish stocks, according to The Guardian. Earthrace contends that the South Africa used to make a similar argument, but saw no decline in fish stocks as a result of a ban instituted in 1990.

An Earthrace spokesperson who witnessed the hunt told The Guardian that "terrified pups are rounded up, separated from their mothers, and violently beaten to death. An additional 6,000 bull seals are killed for their genitalia which are thought to be an aphrodisiac in some cultures. Most of this is exported to Asia."

Cape fur seal massacre - photo AP
Cape fur seal slaughter. Photo: AP

The group argues the hunt provides little economic benefit and that the Namibian government is being hypocritical by allowing hunting in reserves created to protect seals.

A petition to end the seal hunt in Namibia posted in 2012 has garnered more than 70,000 signatures.

The Canadian seal hunt, the largest in the world, has faced international scrutiny and criticism in recent years. The European Union and Russia have both banned imports of seal products.

The Canadian government has argued that the hunt is humane, tightly regulated and economically important to coastal communities.

With files from The Canadian Press



Vessel owners suffer as EU seal ban hammers Norway
“You can still smell the seal blood!”

June 17, 2013

Bengt Koreneliussen - Norwegian sealer
Bengt Koreneliussen is the owner of the Kvitbjorn, one of Norway’s last seal hunting ships. (PHOTO BY ALEX BOYD)

While Norway, along with Canada, continues to fight the European Union’s ban on seal products, the ban’s impact is crippling the seal industry in its Arctic region.

That’s what you’ll hear from Bengt Koreneliussen while he gives a tour of his largest sealing vessel, the Kvitbjorn, or “White Bear,” docked at Norway’s Arctic city of Tromsø.

Koreneliussen runs a tight ship: he flies up ladders and darts through narrow hallways like someone who has spent more time on the water than on land — every rope is coiled, all equipment stowed away, every coffee mug on its shelf in the galley below deck.

But some things are harder to tidy away than others.

As he strides across the wooden deck — which has the dull, fuzzy look of endless scrubbing — he gestures at his feet.

“You can still smell the seal blood!” he exclaims.

With the nearby fish warehouse and the breeze coming off the fiord around Tromsø, it’s hard to tell.

But if anyone would know, it’s Koreneliussen.

He’s one of the last of what was once a traditional profession in northern Norway —a seal hunter.

And his Kvitbjorn was one of only four boats to set sail from Norway this spring to hunt harp seals on the ice west of Greenland.

The Norwegian seal hunt has been in decline for years. But many say that its undoing may be the EU ban on seal products that’s been in force since 2010.

Canada has long been the loudest voice in the fight against the ban, but the other country hit has hard is Norway, which is not a member of the EU.

Koreneliussen’s grandfather began hunting seal in the late 1930s but it was a different story back then, he said. Then, dozens of smaller, wooden boats sailed from Tromsø every year.

But the bigger difference was the amount of money that could be made.

“They say if you come from a good trip,” he said. “You could even buy a house.”

After two or three seal hunting trips, his grandfather had enough saved to buy his own boat. But those days are long gone. The Kvitbjorn brought back about 7,000 seals from a month-long hunt.

Total profit was just over a million Canadian dollars.

Which might seem like a lot, but Koreneliussen said that after paying a full crew for a month, not much is left over. Plus, taking a boat into pack ice means taking a serious financial risk; high fuel usage, poor weather and damage all eat into profits.

Koreneliussen got lucky and bought the Kvitjorn for a fraction of its actual value, he said, because her previous owner had gone bankrupt.

There aren’t many people these days who are willing to invest in a sealing ship — which requires a reinforced hull to navigate Arctic ice packs and can cost upwards of $7 million dollars — with the prospect of such a small return.

But Koreneliussen said doesn’t know how much longer he’ll do this.

His dream, he said is to do more and more transport work for the oil industry.

“When that happens I will stop sealing,” he said.



South African MP calls for restart of seal hunt

June 5th, 2013
Kevin Heath

Phaliso Meriam Nozibonelo
South African MP Phaliso Meriam Nozibonelo

ANC MP Miss Meriam Phaliso has called for the restart of the South African fur seal hunt as a way of boosting jobs now that a number of fisheries around the coast has been fished out. Phaliso who is a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said the only thing that needs to be considered is a way to kill the seals and the pups humanely.

South Africa ended its annual seal hunt in 1990 after international campaigning. The ban came just before a new 5 year concession was about to come into force which would have allowed an annual hunt of 100,000 pups and some adult bulls.

A factory to process the meat and skins of the pups had already been built in Port Nolloth. Parts of the pups would have made into pet food, leather and traditional medicines such as aphrodisiacs. The 5 year concession had been awarded to a Taiwanese businessman.

Phaliso said “seals are the biggest poachers of some of the fish and nobody is arresting them… seals are a job-creating mechanism that can put food on the tables in some areas”.

Cape fur seals
Cape fur seals

Namibia is currently the only country in Africa and the Southern Hemisphere that undertakes an annual seal hunt. Beginning in July the season last November the Namibian hunt targets 80,000 seal pups and 6,000 adult bulls each year.

The number of jobs associated with the hunt is relatively small and mainly temporary. 81 people are employed directly on the hunt for 6 months each year and about 100 people are involved in the processing of the seals.

It is unlikely that the proposal by Phaliso would lead to any long-term or stable jobs and those that are created will be probably number no more than 200 temporary direct and indirect jobs each year.




Seal hunt described as best in years

The Canadian Press
Posted: May 27, 2013 6:53 AM NT

Sealer throws seal skins - photo Canadian Press
The Canadian Sealers Association says both prices and yields increased in this year's seal hunt off Newfoundland. (The Canadian Press)

This year's commercial seal hunt off Newfoundland is being called a success despite relatively low yields, ongoing protest by animal welfare groups and international product bans.

Frank Pinhorn, executive director of the Canadian Sealers Association, says about 91,000 harp seals were landed this spring. That's far short of the federal quota of 400,000 but an increase over 69,000 last year and 38,000 in 2011.

Pinhorn says the price for the best pelts was also up to about $35 from $28 last year.

"This was probably the best year we've had since maybe 2008-09," he said in an interview. "The seals were of good quality, and they're all following the regulations in terms of harvesting — humane harvest and quality harvesting," he said of sealers.

"So there's a marked improvement in the way the seals are handled as well. And that gives them a better price."

Growing demand

Pinhorn said there's growing demand for seal skin coats, boots, slippers and other products in the province and across Canada. He said fur is also still going to markets in China and other parts of Asia as the federal government fights the European Union's ban on seal products through the World Trade Organization.

The industry suffered a legal setback last month when the European General Court dismissed a Canadian challenge of the EU ban. The court upheld related legislation, saying it fairly harmonizes the European market while protecting the interests of Inuit communities that are exempted from seal product restrictions.

The federal Fisheries Department says starting next year, all licence holders taking part in the commercial seal hunt will have to complete training on its accepted three-step process for killing seals.

Harvesters must first shoot or strike animals on the cranium with a firearm or hakapik or club. They must then ensure the skull has been crushed and the seal is dead. The third step is to cut major arteries under the front flippers and bleed the animal for at least a minute before skinning it.

"The training program is working, and we have to continue at that so that sealers will operate in what we call a professional manner and treat the animals humanely and with respect," Pinhorn said.

The province has vigorously defended the seal hunt as a vital income source for struggling outports that rely on that cash to help fund the rest of the fishing season. For the second year, the Progressive Conservative government loaned money in March to help Carino Processing Ltd. of South Dildo purchase seals from the 2013 harvest.

"The annual seal harvest is humane and sustainable, and is important to the long-term stability of fish stocks adjacent to this province," said the provincial Fisheries Department as it announced the $3.6 million loan. It noted that a similar loan in 2012 "was paid back in full and on time."

'Glorified welfare program'

Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International Canada, said she spent a week this spring documenting the seal hunt off northern Newfoundland for the 15th straight year.

"And what I saw this year was exactly what I see every year: seals were wounded and left to suffer crawling through their own blood," she said from Montreal. "Seals that were wounded went into the water and were desperately trying to swim as the blood was pouring out of them. Some of them were gaffed alive on to the boats.

"This is the reason why groups like mine have been trying for more than 50 years to stop the commercial seal hunt in Canada."

Aldworth said there would not be a commercial hunt if not for government support offered at the expense of taxpayers.

"The sealing industry has become nothing more than a glorified welfare program."

© The Canadian Press, 2013



Federal government announces quota for harp seal hunt, weeks after it began

Published on May 10, 2013
The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The federal government has announced the quota for this year’s commercial harp seal hunt, weeks after it began.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says on its website that the total allowable catch for harp seals this year has been set at 400,000, the same quota that was set for last year.

The quota for hooded seals is 8,200 — also the same as last year.

The harp seal hunt off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador began about a month ago.

In past years, the department announced the quota before the hunt started.

Animal welfare groups say the hunt is inhumane and have called on Ottawa to support a buyout of the sealing industry.

But the government says the hunt is humane, sustainable and a source of revenue for fishermen on the East Coast.



Photos: 2013 Canadian seal hunt bloodies the ice off Newfoundland (warning: graphic images)


by Stephen Hui on Apr 18, 2013 at 2:53 pm

It's Day 9 of the 2013 Canadian commercial seal hunt.

Almost 60,000 harp seals have been caught and killed in the North Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Newfoundland, since April 9. According to the Seals and Sealing Network, the industry is aiming to "harvest" 100,000 seals this year, but the total allowable catch could be over 400,000 seals.

Meanwhile, Humane Society International/Canada is on the scene to observe the slaughter. The group wants to see the hunt end and a "federal buyout" of the highly subsidized sealing industry. It says it's irregular that this year's total allowable catch wasn't released by the Canadian government prior to the opening of the hunt.

HSI Canada captured these graphic images of the seal hunt from the air.

Sealer kills harp seal pup - photo Frank Loftus HSI 2013

Sealer throws seal pup - photo Frank Loftus HSI 2013

Sealing boat in icy water - photo Frank Loftus HSI 2013

Harp seal pups on bloody boat - photo Frank Loftus HSI 2013

Sealer clubs harp seal pup - photo Frank Loftus HSI 2013

Sealer hooks bleeding harp seal pup - photo Frank Loftus HSI 2013

Sealers on boat - photo Frank Loftus HSI 2013

Sealer drags harp seal pup - photo Frank Loftus HSI 2013
Sealers club, hook, drag, and skin harp seal pups on the Front in 2013. Photos by Frank Loftus, HSI 2013.





Seal fishery opening dates announced

Published on April 5, 2013
The Telegram

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has announced opening dates for this year’s seal fishery.

The fishery for harp seals will re-open in sealing areas four to eight, and 12, at 6 a.m. Tuesday, April 9.

This fishery will open for Front longliners, Area five to eight small boats and speed boats, all Area 4 vessels, and personal use, license classes N100 to N106, N300 to N302 and N400.

The department also advises Newfoundland and Labrador seal harvesters based in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, that the fishery for harp seals will re-open in the Gulf, in sealing areas nine to 23, and 25 to 27, at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, April 9.

The fishery will open for Gulf longliners, Gulf small boats, Gulf speed boats, and personal use, license classes N200 to N204 and N401.

The Department further advises seal harvesters having a homeport located between Big Brook to Noddy Bay inclusive, operating from vessels less than 40 feet, license classes N203 and N204, that a portion of Sealing Area 5 will also open for harp seals at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, April 9.

Seal harvesters are advised to check with their buyers to confirm a market for their seals before going sealing.



Province gives $3.6-M loan to boost seal hunt
Carino Processing will get the cash to buy pelts and blubber until rebound in market demand

CBC News
Posted: Apr 5, 2012 3:42 PM NT

Sealer approaches seal pup - photo Andrew Vaughan - Can. Press
A hunter heads towards a harp seal during the annual East Coast seal hunt in this 2009 file photo. The Newfoundland and Labrador government is providing a $3.6 million loan to aid in the purchase of seal products this year. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

The Newfoundland and Labrador government is providing a $3.6-million loan for the purchase of raw material to boost this year’s seal hunt.

“Through today’s announcement, our government is providing financial support for the seal-processing industry in order to protect the future viability of the province’s seal hunt,” Fisheries Minister Darin King said.

Carino Processing Limited will get the cash.

King says the loan will “ensure adequate raw material is available to Carino to address market demands as they arise, and will ensure hundreds of harvesters secure an income this year.”

The money will allow Carino to purchase seal pelts and blubber or fat.

The government said the company will make a matching contribution for processing and marketing activities.

“Uncertainty around market access and political risk has made it increasingly difficult for companies trading in seal products to secure financing from traditional sources,” said Dion Dakins, chief executive officer of Carino.

“Therefore, the support of the provincial government is essential to secure our future in Newfoundland and Labrador. This industry can continue to make a significant contribution to the economy once the external political issues are resolved over the next year or so. We are confident this will occur.”

In December, King said Ottawa must do more to protect the industry after Russia — a major customer of Canadian seal products — signalled it would impose trade restrictions on those imports.

Canada has filed a challenge with the World Trade Organization over a 2009 ban imposed by the European Union.



Newfoundland provides loan to seal-processing plant

DILDO, NFLD. — The Canadian Press

Published Wednesday, Mar. 27 2013, 5:26 PM EDT

A seal processing plant in Newfoundland and labrador will get a $3.6-million loan from the provincial government this year. Fisheries Minister Derrick Dalley says the money for Carino Processing Ltd. will allow the Dildo facility to buy seal pelts and blubber from this year’s hunt.
(Paul Darrow/REUTERS)

A seal-processing plant in Newfoundland and Labrador will get a $3.6-million loan from the provincial government this year.

Fisheries Minister Derrick Dalley says the money for Carino Processing Ltd. will allow the Dildo facility to buy seal pelts and blubber from this year’s hunt.

The government offered a loan of the same amount last year to Carino Processing, but the company only borrowed $2-million.

The government says that’s because poor ice conditions hampered the hunt last year, adding that the loan has since been repaid.

Mr. Dalley reiterated the government’s position that seal hunt is humane and sustainable, a statement that animal welfare groups strongly contest.

Humane Society International swiftly condemned the loan as a wasteful subsidy intended to prop up a dying business.

“Instead of providing financing to a doomed industry, our governments, both provincial and federal, should be pursuing a one-time buyout of the commercial sealing industry,” Rebecca Aldworth, a spokeswoman for the group, said in a news release Wednesday.

“That plan would put more money into the pockets of Canadian fishermen than the seal hunt ever could, and it would be a just and graceful way to remove the international stigma of being one of the last nations in the world to support commercial sealing.”

But Mr. Dalley said the seal hunt is crucial to the long-term stability of fish stocks.

“Coupled with the fact that opportunities for the seal products undoubtedly exist, our government is pleased to once again provide financial assistance supporting the long-term viability of this industry,” he said in a statement.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has yet to set this year’s total allowable catch.



Seal hunt on last legs with another slaughter cancelled, says anti-sealing group

The Canadian Press
February 27, 2013

SYDNEY, N.S. - An anti-sealing organization says the cancellation of the annual hunt on Hay Island off Cape Breton is another sign the commercial industry is dying.

Bridget Curran, director of the Atlantic Canadian Anti-Sealing Coalition, says international markets for seal products are shrinking.

Curran says she's delighted by news that a group of seal hunters in Cape Breton have decided against venturing out this year.

Robert Courtney, a spokesman for the hunters, says the hunt has been suspended because there is no market for the pelts.

It's the second year in a row the hunt for grey seals on Hay Island has been called off.

The hunt usually takes in a few hundred seals every spring.

© Copyright 2013



Seal meat, sealers, but no McCartney on hand for seal hunt doc screening

By Graham Lanktree
Metro Ottawa
February 20, 2013

harp seal pup
Newfoundland and Labrador's fisheries minister says 70,000 harp seals were killed during the 2012 hunt, up from 38,000 in 2011.

If you’re a fan of former Beatle Paul McCartney, you may be uncomfortable at a screening of the documentary The Hidden Face of the Seal Hunt next Tuesday.

“The scenes of Paul McCartney and his unwillingness to engage with the local community are my favourite,” said Fred Litwin, founder of the Free Thinking Film Society of Ottawa which will screen the film about the controversial seal cull in the Magdalen Islands, Feb. 26.

“He flew in, but He’s not willing to talk to a leader from the community who is three feet away,” said Litwin of footage of a March 2006 trip McCartney took to the region with ex-wife Heather Mills to speak out against the hunt. “He knows nothing about this community and has no interest.”

Litwin said that when he watched a copy of the film he was floored by how good it is and that it convinced him, “Canada should fight back strongly,” against a ban on seal products the European Union imposed in 2009.

On hand will be samples of seal meat for the audience to taste, as well as a number of Magdalen Island community members who make 35 per cent of their living from the cull, Litwin said, adding that Minister of Health, Leona Aglukkaq, is also slated for an appearance.

“It’s part of the aboriginal way of life,” he said. “I think people will walk away learning a great deal of how the seal hunt is conducted.”

The Hidden Face of the Seal Hunt will screen Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 395 Wellington. Tickets are $10.



Seals found on P.E.I. shore were bludgeoned to death
Some animals died slowly, says pathologist

Grey seal pups bludgeoned to death
Many of the dead seals bludgeoned to death last weekend were pups. (Name withheld by request)

CBC News
Posted: Feb 1, 2013 11:06 AM AT

Necropsy results on 10 of about 50 seals found washed up dead on the shores of eastern P.E.I. last weekend show they were bludgeoned to death.

The seals were found by a group of veterinary students near Beach Point.

The 10 grey seal pups examined so far had severely fractured skulls, said Pierre-Yves Daoust, a wildlife pathologist at Charlottetown's Atlantic Veterinary College.

Radiological images were taken of eight of the pups and none showed metal fragments, indicating they were not shot.

Daoust said he has not seen large numbers of dead seals like this before, and he and fisheries officers were suspicious from the start that the seals were killed by people.

"It is a black eye … to Prince Edward Island, and to the Maritimes," said Daoust.

"Based on some of the observations that I made at the time of necropsy, that I do suspect that some of those animals, of the 10 that I looked at did not die immediately, and therefore leads me to believe that from the first blow to the head to the time that they died there may have been several seconds at least if not perhaps more than a minute going by before the animals died, which raises another issue about animal welfare for sure...These seals were still nursing their mother."-Pierre-Yves Daoust

The necropsy showed that not all the animals were killed instantly by their injuries, and that all were left to freeze.

"This cannot be done. This is not acceptable. This has nothing to do with the seal hunt. That is not what a professional sealer would do," said Daoust.

"A professional sealer would make sure that the animal is used as much as possible [and] would make sure that the animal dies as quickly as possible. When we see something like this, which is totally the opposite, … it gives such a poor image."

An incident such as this affects the whole industry, he said.

Officials from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans are investigating.








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