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Total Allowable Catch (TAC)

The 2007 harp seal TAC will be set at 270,000
March 29, 2007
The Honourable Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), today announced the total allowable catch (TAC) and other management measures for the 2007 Atlantic seal hunt.

The 2007 harp seal TAC will be set at 270,000. The one-year TAC of 270,000 includes allocations of 2,000 seals for personal use, 4,860 seals for Aboriginal initiatives and a carry forward of 19,000 seals for fleets on the Front. Once the carry forward is deducted, existing sharing arrangements remain in place, with the Front receiving about 70% of the TAC and the Gulf about 30%. Full media release is here

HISTORY

The first Total Allowable Catch (TAC) was set in 1971 at 245,000 dropping to 150,000 in 1972 and a low of 127,000 in 1976. Overall stock improvement resulted in a 1982 TAC of 186,000 which has remained in since 1995 with catches averaging just 57,000 over the last ten years and a 1994 catch of 62,000. In 1996 the TAC was increased to 250,000 with 245,000 (+) harvested. The TAC for 1997 was 275,000, and in the 1997/98 season this remained unchanged. Hooded seals weigh approximately 20 kg. at birth; the adult male reaches 400 kg. and the female about 270 kg. The pup sheds its whitecoat in utero (i.e., before being born) and is known as a blueback. Hoods spend summer and fall in the north; moving south in offshore waters in early winter to whelp and mate in March or early April. Relatively little is known about their diet but it varies greatly over geography and season.

The 1990 population estimate for southern Canadian waters was approximately 400,000 — growing at a rate of approximately 5% with pup production of approximately 84,000. Replacement yields are not calculated for recent years but the 1985 NAFO estimate for the area off eastern Newfoundland was between 15,000 and 40,000. The 1982 TAC was 15,000 down to 2,340 in 1984 and at 8,000 since 1992. The catch in most of the last ten years has been just a few hundred each year.

The TAC for 1997 was 8,000. For the 1997/98 season, this increased to 10,000. Other seal species: bearded, harbour, ringed and greys are of very minor importance in the commercial sealing industry. Grey concentrations however at Sable Island and the Gulf of St. Lawrence number approximately 140,000 with a growth rate of 13% and a recruitment yield of approximately 15,000 as per 1993 surveys. In 1997, an experimental harvest for commercial sale of pelts only will be permitted for 2,000 ring seals. This is, historically, the annual catch, but without the commercial initiative.