Some updates from the head office of the CSA in St. John’s, April 2013.
The Canadian Sealers Association are pleased to report that the 2013 seal harvest is showing signs of recovery and is having a very positive impact on local economies in rural parts of the province. During the last two weeks, upwards of 80,000 seals have been landed, and this is attributed to good ice conditions and availability of seals. Prices are up about 20 percent over last year and the participation level has improved, especially for small boats in the 20-25 foot category in the Port Saunders to St. Anthony area, where landing have been very high and incomes increased significantly over recent years. Some of these small boats have harvested 500-800 seals during the season and the income will represent close to 50 percent of their annual income.
The CSA in conjunction with the Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board continued with the training of our sealers this spring with the holding of 18 sessions at various locations in Newfoundland and Labrador. We are pleased to announce that to date close to 4000 sealers have taken part in the Humane Harvest Program and approximately 2000 have been trained in Healthy Seals Program, which is being carried out in conjunction with the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture. We are also working with industry stakeholders and have made adjustments to the Code of Practice which will enable all sealers to follow acceptable practices in handling seal meat and by-products on their vessels.
The CSA welcomes Nikolas Sellheim, a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Law at the University of Lapland, studying Legal Cultures in a Transnational World, to Newfoundland and Labrador, where he is experiencing first hand, the harvest of seals off the northeast coast of the province. His research deals with the impact of the European Ban on the commercial sealing industry and the fact that the scientific basis, on which the ban is based, excludes any discussion with the main stakeholders, the commercial sealers.