An Overview of the Economic Importance of Canada’s Commercial Seal Hunt
The recent implementation of a number of national bans on the importation of seal products, the on-going discussions of additional national bans and, possibly, a European Union-wide trade ban, have resulted in renewed discussions about the economic importance of Canada's commercial seal hunt. Such discussions are typically hindered by a paucity of data on the economics of sealing in Canada. Where data appear to exist, the reliability of the information is often open to question. Even a Canadian government appointed panel - the Eminent Panel on Seal Management - recently reported that it is "difficult to assemble a comprehensive compilation of contributions to the sealing industry." When the Panel "attempted to obtain reliable information on the value of the sealing industry", it "found that such data are somewhat imprecise and sometimes lacking in consistency."
In undertaking the present review, I have attempted to summarize what is known about the economics of sealing in Canada. For context, I have also summarized the current status of trade bans on seal products that have been proposed or announced in recent years. All sources referred to in this paper - including documents obtained through Canada's Access to Information Act - are available from the author upon request.