IFAW Observation of Hunt Comes to a Close
Posted by Sheryl Fink
We flew back out into the Strait of Belle Isle this morning looking for the sealers. After being grounded for a day, it can be tricky to find the boats again. So we went to the last known coordinates with the intention of moving north (where the boats had been headed) and west (where we had been told there was a patch of seal pups) to try and find where sealing activity was now taking place. Spotting the Coast Guard vessel "Amundsen" on the horizon made our task much easier, since the sealing boats were still clustered around it like baby ducklings. But something was different today. None of the boats were sealing. In fact, many had battened down the hatches and appeared to be headed south back to the Magdalen Islands. Was it possible that the quota had already been taken?
Bewildered, we called DFO. So far 6600 seals have been reported killed, but no, the regional quota had not yet been reached.
Then we remembered the weather forecast we had been concerned about earlier in the morning: a storm was moving in, and they were calling for winds upwards of 160 km/h and snow squalls giving near zero visibilities. Not exactly the stuff you want to be flying a helicopter in, but you woudn't want to be stuck on a sealing boat miles from home in that either. With no prospect of documenting the hunt over the next few days, we decamped. It's always a tough call to leave, we know the hunting will eventually resume, and it often continues on into May. But, we have achieved our goal of getting footage of the cruelty of Canada's seal hunt. And we will continue to work and use this footage over the course of the year to show the unacceptable and unnecessary suffering that is inherent in this hunt, to encourage countries to ban seal products, and to work towards the ultimate end of the cruel slaughter of seal pups in Canada.