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Terminate the Canadian Seal Massacre

Terminate the Canadian Seal Massacre

Preliminary thoughts on long term strategy for seals

From: Anthony Marr <anthony-marr@hope-care.org>
Date: Sun Apr 9, 2006 8:43 am
Subject: Preliminary thoughts on long term strategy for seals

I don't know if any study has been done on long term projections on the seals and the massacre. If anyone knows of any, please let me know. Meanwhile, here are some of my thoughts.

The Newfoundland coastline is very long, easily 1,500 km as the crow flies, comparable with that of British Columbia or (California + Oregon + Washington). Considering an average icecap retreat rate along the coast of X km/year, it will take 1,500/X years for the ice to retreat from St. John's up to Cape Chidley. So first, X has to be known.

Depending on the time frame, and assuming that the hunt is not stopped, the sealers could gradually move north to keep up with the retreating ice if the retreat is slow enough, or be left behind if the retreat is fast enough, or else the sealers could leap-frog and set up shop at Cartwright, or Hopedale, or Hebron or even Cape Chidley itself. Whether they would do this depends on if they would need to stay where they are for they non-sealing-seasons fishery.

There is also the consideration whether the ice would retreat eastwards away from land as well as due north. In this case, the sealers may have to go out way off shore to reach the ice, and there a distance limit as to how far off shore the sealing boats could go would apply.

In the longer term, the ice in the Northwest Passage will break up, and large scale commercial navigation will be developed, and the seals will be more exposed than ever. Greenland will probably play a role in whatever may develop, including sealing.

As for the seals, I think ecologically they will do better than the polar bears. The pupping ice will be shifted northward, and the seals will likely shift north with it, assuming that their food-fish will do likewise. Already, Atlantic cod is moving northward to invade the habitat of the Arctic cod.

We should form a long term strategy to safegurad the seals according to such scenarios. And certainly, we should end the hunt before any of this progresses too far.

Anthony Marr
 

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