The Canadian Seal Hunt 2011

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The Canadian Seal Hunt 2011

[Ed. Note: The decimation of the number and species of fish is NOT because seals are eating too many; it is because of overfishing so humans can continue to eat millions of pounds of sea animals. Again, being vegan positively impacts ALL life since we're all stuck here together on this planet. See images of what a seal hunt looks like...Seals.]

From HarpSeals.org
May 2011

The veteran sealer said there were many factors against the hunt this year, in which less than 10 per cent of the allowable quota was killed. Small said about 37,000 seals have been harvested of the 400,000 quota, and he is unaware of any boats commercially participating now.

Sealers staying home or fishing other species: fisherman

Published on May 13, 2011
The Western Star
Cory Hurley

CORNER BROOK — It may not have looked like it this year, or even last, but there are still many sealers in this province willing to hunt if the price is right.

Mark Small, a sealer from the White Bay area, did not participate in the seal hunt for the second consecutive year. He said his effort would not have been profitable this year, and last season he — like so many — did not have a buyer to sell to.

The veteran sealer said there were many factors against the hunt this year, in which less than 10 per cent of the allowable quota was killed. Small said about 37,000 seals have been harvested of the 400,000 quota, and he is unaware of any boats commercially participating now.

“The catch was down and there wasn’t many active sealers that took part in the seal hunt this year,” he said from his home in Wild Cove. “The prices were low, weather conditions were very poor, and we had crab season open earlier than the seal season.”

The sealer said markets increased this year, but they were only offered $21 for a top-quality pelt. The month of April was cold and windy, deterring sealers from participating. The lack of ice in the front — off southern Labrador — would have forced sealers to travel farther north in search of whelping ice, making it less likely for the fishermen to turn a profit.

The early start of the crab fishery, directed many regular sealers to that fishery, where Small said there are greater profits.

Small said estimates of the seal population are now 9-10 million, which he says is detrimental to fish stocks. In order to rebuild those stocks, he said the seal population must be minimized.

There has already been some unexplainable phenomena.

“I don’t understand what has happened this year, but a number of adult seals have washed ashore along the coast and died,” he said. “We haven’t been able to find that out scientifically.

“This year, the seals must have been late giving birth because we had ragged-jackets right up until the end of April. I don’t understand what is happening, but the environment could be having some effects on the pupping and mating early in the year when there is no ice.”

While the lack of ice drives the seals farther north, Small said sealers are willing to chase them down, if the hunt is viable.

He hopes there is a rebound to the hunt, rather than further discussion of a seal cull.

“I think it is an industry that many people along the coastlines of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Magdalen Islands can benefit from,” he said. “With (markets in) China, that looks very hopeful for full utilization of the animal. If we could build that market, it would certainly be good for the industry in the future.”

Regardless, he said the various levels of government will have to examine the seal population and its impact on fish stocks.