VIDEO: Slow start to Canadian seal hunt as sealers stay home

There is nothing more frustrating than being prepared to document the commercial seal hunt and being kept down by one thing we have absolutely no control over – weather. 

Freezing fog, low visibility and snow made it impossible to fly today.   According to officials, only 28 boats hailed out for the Front: a similar number to the 2011 hunt, but a dramatic drop from the 2100 boats that engaged in the hunt back in 2006. After two days of hunting, some 2260 seals have been killed.

Still, we documented some disturbing scenes from the air yesterday.  Among the worst, a seal pup, shot from a distance, left crying out and suffering for over two minutes before the sealer was able to make a second shot and finally end her misery.  

The sealer was, in fact, following the Regulations, which require a second shot if a seal is still visibly moving after a first bullet.  But the distances and the difficulty in obtaining a clean shot from a moving boat mean that these sorts of occurrences continue to happen  far too often.

A CBC article notes that many fishermen are saying the markets are too small to justify the expense of going sealing this year. 

At $27 per skin, it looks as though even government support is not enough to entice sealers to risk the floes for a dangerous, unpredictable and unprofitable venture.

It’s still early in the season, but I am truly hoping that the order of 130,000 sealskins will not be filled this year. When even sealers are saying the hunt is not worthwhile, we must make sure it remains so and put the final nail in the coffin of this dying industry.

We need your help more than ever. Please visit ifaw.org/seals and take action to help us make the seal hunt history. 

-- SF

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