Canadian fisheries department calls for reduction in harp seal quota

A young starving harp seal pup. Much to our surprise, French Canadian media is reporting that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has recommended a reduction in the allowable catch of harp seals by 25 percent for 2012.

According to DFO scientist Dr. Mike Hammill, the harp seal population has dropped to some 7.7 million animals, due to a decline in reproductive rates and lack of food.  The lack of ice in recent years has also played a role according to Dr Hammill, with barely 30% of newborn pups surviving the first 6 weeks of life due to poor ice conditions.

The fact that the commercial hunting of these pups is allowed to continue is inexcusable.  All but 18 of the 40,393 seals killed last year were under 3 months of age, and the combined effects of poor ice and commercial hunting is now showing an impact on the harp seal population.

The call for a decrease in quota by 100,000 will arguably lead some to question the soundness of DFO’s management plan for the seal hunt, since just last year the Minister of Fisheries increased the quota by 70,000! 

And while it remains to be seen what newly appointed DFO Minister Ashfield will ultimately decide to do for 2012, a decrease would certainly be unusual; it has happened only 4 times in the entire 40 year history of DFO management of the seal hunt. 

Unfortunately, even a 25 % quota reduction would be an inadequate half-measure that makes no sense in reality.  Given the nearly non-existent markets for unnecessary seal products, a far better move would be to shut down the dying sealing industry altogether, compensate sealers appropriately, and protect seals from the threats of climate change and commercial exploitation. 

With so little economic value left in the sealing industry, sealer participation at an all-time low, and seals being threatened by loss of ice habitat, there is no better time for Canada to put an end to this shameful slaughter once and for all.   


Comments: 13

5 years ago

This is sadd

6 years ago

IFAW is the heart of animal welfare

6 years ago

This slaughter has to stop it;s not only barbaric but sensless i am a canadian but not proud of this

6 years ago

too bad Alex Trebek (who is always bragging about how great Canada is, yet makes his millions in the US and lives in the US) doesn't support the US and tell his fellow Canadians to stop! If they were so good they would.

6 years ago

people say " shame on Canada" but it isn't all of canada that does it i mean i am from and doing the canadian seal hunt for my heritage fair project but i have no idea why people say that to all of canada

6 years ago

I am faraway in Australia but I will NOT buy any products come from or made in Canada while the killing of baby seals are happening ...

6 years ago

i want to help so bad!

6 years ago

I boycott all products of Canada including sardines and other fish products, cookies, clothing...Anything labled Made in Canada or Product of Canada I will not buy. Tell your friends to SAVE A SEAL and boycott, Boycott, BOYCOTT Canada.

6 years ago

Triste de voir qu'en 40 ans il n'y a pas eu un seul Premier Ministre assez intelligent pour réaliser que son gouvernement était coupable d'un crime contre la nature. Et quand on sait que le gouvernement actuel avait décidé de détruire les phoques qui se reproduisent sur l'Ile Sable et que les carcassent seraient tout simplement brulées on se demande ce que les enfants de ces ministres pensent de leurs pères.

6 years ago

I am a group travel planner for a large U.S. university and have stricken trips to Canada from plans for 2013 due to Canada's pig-headed refusal to drop seal hunting, particularly the baby whites. Today when so many high quality fur alternatives are available, there is no need for this barbarian slaughter to continue. We conduct 50 trips a year and my travelers agree whole-heartedly with my decision not to put our tourist dollars into Canada.

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