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* Scotland's fishermen kill seals, leaving orphans

* Criminal investigation into Alaska walrus deaths

* Rescued seal shot in Scotland

* Namibia Cape fur seal cull to continue

* Graphic video of Canadian seal hunt released

* Sealer fined $1000

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The Canadian Seal 'Hunt' 2015 and the Namibian Cape fur seal slaughter 2015

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.

Sometimes, we may interject our comments. If we do, we will make it obvious that these are our comments.

We also include some articles about killings of seals and other pinnipeds in other parts of the world.

 


 

 

Seal Protection Action Group: Dependent seal pups are left to starve if their mothers are shot

9 October 2015
itv.com

Grey seal - reuters photo
There is evidence that the number of seals being shot is declining but campaigners want a complete ban Credit: Reuters

The Scottish Government has just published the latest seal shooting figures on their website. They reveal that 86 grey and 24 common seals (110 animals) were reported shot between January and June this year by fish-farmers, salmon nets-men and angling interests.
Because shooting is permitted all year round, the latter six months of shooting falls within the breeding seasons of our globally important populations of grey and common seals. This means dependent pups are left to starve if their mothers are shot.

Because the carcass is seldom recovered, although required under the licence, it is not possible to establish if shot seals are nursing and so calculate the number of seal pups that may suffer as a consequence – a cruel and unnecessary tragedy that goes unreported in the statistics.
Since 2011, when the seal licence was introduced, we have seen reported numbers of seals shot fall by around 50%, from 461 in 2011 to 205 in 2014. However, the accuracy of these figures remains open to question given that the scheme is based entirely upon self-reporting.

What the reported figures do reveal is that 1,500 seals have been reported shot in 4.5 years under the scheme, an average of 333 seals each year.

In 2014, salmon farmers shot 80 seals with a further 125 shot by salmon netters and sports angling river authorities.

Common seal - ITV news
Seals can be shot by licensed marksmen to protect salmon stocks Credit: ITV News

Usan Salmon Fisheries of Montrose, a company that sets net for wild salmon, have already been named as the single biggest seal killing company in Scotland having shot over 100 seals in 2013 alone. RSPCA accredited ‘Freedom Food’ fish-farms shot almost 70% of the 80 seals reported shot by fish-farmers last year.

Unfortunately, shoppers have no way of knowing if the salmon product they buy has been produced by companies that shoot seals, but chances are high that this is the case.
While the Scottish Government repeatedly claims the Seal Licence scheme is ‘working well’ the delays in posting the quarterly shooting statistics and the deliberate withholding of individual company shooting information, has made any independent monitoring of the scheme very difficult.

There is no way to verify the shooting figures being reported either.
The Seal Protection Action Group recognises that seal shooting has shown a huge decrease based on historical estimates and that some salmon farmers at least have played a part in reducing shooting.

However, the number of seals still shot in Scottish waters every year is totally unacceptable, especially as we believe it is perfectly possible to deter seals and other wild predators without harming them.

– SEAL PROTECTION ACTION GROUP
The salmon industry, from farming and netting to sports-angling needs to change.

The Seal Protection Action Group is committed to end all seal shooting and for the Scottish Salmon Industry to adopt strictly non-lethal solutions to conflicts with seals and other wildlife. In 2010, we established the Salmon Aquaculture and Seals Working Group, working with leading retailer Sainsbury’s and leading salmon producer Marine Harvest, as well as the RSPCA and leading scientists to explore, develop and introduce strictly non-lethal methods of deterring seals without harming them.

The Seal Protection Action Group believes the solutions now exist to end seal shooting and an industry worth an estimated £1 billion needs to embrace and most importantly pay for them.

These views do not necessarily reflect those of ITV News

 


 

Alaska walrus deaths: criminal investigation launched

September 22, 2015
bbc.com

Walruses - AP photo
US law stipulates that only Alaskans who live in the state are entitled to hunt walrus. AP photo.

A criminal investigation has been opened in the US state of Alaska into the deaths of 25 Pacific walrus found dead last week on an isolated beach.
The animals were found near Cape Lisburne on the Chukchi Sea about 370km north-east of the Bering Strait.

Initial reports said that the 12 pups and 13 adults - some without tusks - had been shot, prompting fears that they were killed by ivory poachers.

But officials say they cannot comment until the investigation is completed.

Two officers from the US Fish and Wildlife Service have been sent to the area to carry out the inquiry.

Andrea Medeiros, a spokeswoman for the agency's regional office, told the Alaska Dispatch News that preliminary reports suggested that the animals had been shot and in some case decapitated.

But she said it was not possible definitively to identify the cause of the deaths.

Walruses - AP photo
When no floes of Arctic sea ice are available, the animals usually head to nearby beaches. AP photo.

US law stipulates that only Alaskans who live in the state are entitled to hunt walrus which cannot be killed solely for their ivory - it is illegal to waste walrus meat.

Walrus ivory is used for jewellery and crafts. Skulls with tusks attached are collectors' items, correspondents say.

Reports of the deaths come as conservationists fear that climate warming has reduced summer sea ice which walrus use as a platform from which to rest and dive for clams, sea snails and other food. As ice melts, the animals migrate north to find new feeding areas.

When no floes of Arctic sea ice are available, the animals usually head to nearby beaches.

Ms Medeiros was quoted by KNBA News as saying that the fact that some of the animals' tusks appeared to have been "harvested" along with their oosiks - the prized walrus penis bone - did not necessarily mean they were killed illegally.

Alaska

Large numbers of walrus were first spotted congregating on the US side of the Chukchi Sea in 2007.

An estimated 35,000 animals were pictured in October hauling themselves on to land north of Point Lay, about 500km (310 miles) south-west of Barrow.

When in large herds the animals are known to stampede - sometimes squashing their young - if they are suddenly disturbed.

Walrus facts

  • There are two sub-species of walrus: Atlantic and Pacific

  • Atlantic walrus can weigh up to 1,600kg (3,500lb)

  • Pacific walrus, found around the Bering Strait in Alaska, are even bigger. They can weigh more than 2,000kg (5,000lb)

  • Walrus-like animals evolved about 10 million years ago in the Pacific Ocean region

  • In captivity, they live to about 45 years of age, but in the wild they live for about 35 years

 


 

Rescued seal is found shot in the head in sickening attack near Thurso

July 18, 2015
By Martin Bagot
dailyrecord.co.uk

Seal shot dead - photo Martin Bagot
The seal was shot deal. Photo: Martin Bagot / Daily Mirror

The seal was rescued as a pup and nursed back to health but has been shot dead in a cruel attack at Murkle Bay.

An injured seal, rescued as a pup and nursed back to health before being released into the wild, has been shot dead.

Animal welfare activists, who named the pup Kuiper , spent six weeks feeding him with a straw after he was found in East Lothian in 2012 with an eye ulcer.

But now the three-year-old has been discovered dead on rocks with a bullet wound through his nose – ­indicating a slow and agonising death.

Kuiper’s body was 
found at Murkle Bay near Thurso after activists opposed to year-round culling filmed a man with a gun. It is believed his killer was a marksman working for the fishing industry.

SSPCA spokesman Colin Seddon said: “He had a second chance. It makes 
you angry, especially as pictures suggest it was not a quick end.”

The Scottish Government issue licences to shoot seals if they damage fish nets.

Activists claim last year’s cull figure was far higher than the official total of 205.

 


 

Namibia to kill 86, 000 seals in the next three years

shanghaidaily.com
Apr 21,2015

WINDHOEK, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Namibian will kill 86,000 seals in the next three years as a way of controlling the marine mammals' population, the fisheries minister Bernard Esau has said.

The minister said since seals feed on fish, if their numbers are left to grow, they will depreciate fish stocks.

Esau said a 2014 survey indicated that the seal population is expected to increase and that government has approved a total allowance catch of 80,000 pups and 6,000 bulls in the next three years.

Namibia is the breeding place of the Cape Fur Seals. There are 24 colonies with a population of about 650, 000 seals.

Every year Namibia hires workers to cull seals using wooden clubs.

This method of culling seals raised some concerns with animal organizations which lobbied the European Union (EU) to ban seal products from Namibia.

The EU imposed the ban in 2009.

Namibia and Canada, which imports seal meat, and other countries affected by the ban contested the EU's decision at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Esau, who was speaking to the fishing sector at the harbour town of Walvis Bay, said the WTO ruled against the EU ban last year.

The minister said the ruling was significant to Namibia and countries such as Finland and Canada that were affected by the ban.

The manager of a seal processing factory in Namibia, Gys Cilliers, also said seal meat will be available in the country for human consumption this year.

 


 

Graphic Video Of Annual Canadian Seal Hunt Released By Animal Rights Group

By Nick Visser
The Huffington Post
April 20, 2015

The Canadian government in early March announced this year's quota for its annual, and highly controversial, seal hunt. The allocation for 2015? 468,000 harp, hooded and grey seals.

In an effort to minimize inhumane treatment, the Canadian government mandates that seals can only be killed using a high-powered rifle or shotgun, a club or a hunting tool called a hakapik. Yet with the hunt in full swing, last week Humane Society International released shocking footage of baby seals being shot, clubbed and dragged aboard hunting vessels -- footage that, the group alleges, shows the hunt is anything but humane

Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of HSI's Canada chapter, told The Huffington Post that despite the legal protections, "what happens to these baby seals is some of the worst suffering I've ever witnessed." She spent last week in a helicopter off the northeast coast of Newfoundland getting a firsthand look at the seal hunt -- her 17th year doing so.

"Ever year we go out there, we see the same kind of cruelty," Aldworth said. "The seal is moving on the ice, the ice is moving on the ocean and the boat is rocking on the waves, so you often see a seal that's just wounded because it's incredibly difficult to make that shot."

The hunt takes place in northeastern Canada between November and June, with the majority of the seal hunting happening in March and April. The animals are killed mainly for their furs, and young harp seals tend to be in the highest demand because they have the most valuable pelts.

The Canadian government maintains that safeguards are in place to ensure animals are killed quickly and humanely. When asked about the scientific rationale for the hunt, a spokesperson for the country's Fisheries and Oceans Portfolio directed HuffPost to an online FAQ page about the seal hunt.

The huge annual quota is all the more surprising given that the number of seals harvested each year has fallen dramatically over the past decade, thanks to a shrinking market. Around 94,000 animals were hunted in 2013, down from about 366,000 in 2004. Harp seal populations in Canada are nearly three times what they were in the 1970s, currently numbering close to 7.3 million animals.

The Canadian Sealers Association recently announced that it will scale back operations in light of the difficult financial situation caused by a constricted commercial market. Carino, the top buyer of sealskins in Canada, said it wouldn't be purchasing any pelts this year because it already has a stockpile that didn't sell in 2014.

The lower demand is partially a result of growing international concern for animal welfare. The entirety of the European Union banned the trade in 2009 due to worries about the inhumane nature of seal hunts in Canada, Greenland, Namibia and other countries. Canada appealed the decision to the World Trade Organization, but the agency upheld the EU ban in 2014, noting it was "necessary to protect public morals" related to animal rights.

In the U.S., trade in seal products is banned and all species of seal are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.

Captain Paul Watson, founder of the marine wildlife conservation group Sea Shepherd, told HuffPost that while his organization supports the work of HSI, it no longer actively opposes to the hunt due to the "collapse" of the market.

"There simply is no market today," he said. "Sea Shepherd's role has been to oppose the sealing ships, and there are no more ships on the water and in the ice killing seals."

Watson noted that despite the large number of seals designated for hunting through the government's quota, it's likely that fewer than 60,000 will be killed this year because of the lack of demand.

Aldworth told HuffPost that HSI is hoping to help broker a deal between the sealers and the Canadian government that would bring about an end to the hunt through a federal buyout of sealing contracts. She said the plan would be similar to the shift that took place when whaling was ended in the country in the 1970s. Parts of Canada now have a burgeoning whale-watching industry.

But for now, her group believes a single seal killed is one too many.

"HSI's concern is that the seal hunt is inherently inhumane. Because it's inhumane, it must be shut down," Aldworth said. "The only progressive thing to do, the only acceptable solution is to shut down the slaughter forever."



 

Seal hunter fined $1,000

Seals gather on ice - Transcontinental Media image
Seals gather on the ice off the Port Saunders - Transcontinental Media file photo

thetelegram.com
Published on February 20, 2015

Hank Clarke of Cottrell’s Cove was recently convicted for fishing seals with full metal jacket ammunition.

A news release from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans today said Clark was convicted in Grand Falls-Windsor provincial court on Jan. 6 and fined $1,000 to be paid within six months. The offence is a violation under the Marine Mammal Regulations.

DFO said the federal government strengthened the Marine Mammal Regulations in 2009 to formalize humane harvesting practices that are already well-established in the Canadian sealing industry. It also said it will continue enforcement efforts to ensure compliance of all who participate in the regulated and sustainable seal hunt.

The public can report suspicious fishing activity or violations of fish habitat by contacting the nearest Fisheries and Oceans Canada office. You can also contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

[Harpseals.org says: The Telegram has sunk to reprinting a DFO press release without any serious editing. If the "harvesting practices" are so humane in this "fishery," why is the Canadian government making it harder and harder for people to observe and document the killing, and why did the European Union ban imports of seal products from Canada after sending emissaries to observe the slaughter? Video evidence tells us that this slaughter is brutal.]


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