DFO Authorizes Hay Island Slaughter of 2,200 Grey Seal Pups.

The slaughter of 2,200 newly weaned grey seal pups (Halichoerus grypus) opened this week on Hay Island, off Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada.

When the DFO authorized the Hay Island slaughter for the first time last year, it was described as a “one-time event”. Not true.

This year, the slaughter opens about a week earlier, and will be allowed until March 14th. About 20-25 sealers are expected to participate. Newly weaned grey seal pups (called “moulters,”) about 8 weeks old, will be herded into groups and clubbed to death with crude wooden bats.

Last year, DFO set the Hay Island grey seal quota at 2,500, in effect authorizing the killing of every seal pup born on the island. By the time it was over, 1,200 seals were killed.

Hay Island is part of the Scatarie Island Protected Wilderness Area, but the Nova Scotia Department of Environment has agreed to give sealers access to the island.

The Nova Scotia fisheries department claims the seals need to be killed to protect fish stocks, a statement that is not supported by any scientific evidence.

The Nova Scotia fishing industry has demanded that the grey seal herd be reduced by 50% over 5 years – a move that that, if “successful” would immediately put the grey seal on a number of endangered species lists!

Hay Island is not the only area where grey seals are hunted, with other regions to be opened for slaughter later this month. The commercial slaughter of harp seal pups is expected to begin late March.


Please send an email to Canadian politicians, letting them know that you oppose the commercial slaughter of ALL seals off Canada’s East coast. Remind them that there is no scientific evidence that culling seals will benefit fish stocks.

Please write to Canada's Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea, copied to Prime Minister Stephen Harper


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