Press Release: September 24, 2014. St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Canadian Sealers Association is very disappointed in the Government of Canada’s decision to sign a trade agreement with the European Union this coming Friday 26 September, without directly including the east coast seal industry and favoring a very restrictive exemption for Aboriginals. It clearly demonstrates that their understanding of the east coast seal harvest is so narrow and misguided that it is destroying an industry that had been in existence for hundreds of years and is an intricate part of life for all rural people especially in Newfoundland and Labrador, where a very large part of the seal population congregate off our coast, for several months each year.
A strong commercial sealing industry is essential, if we are to keep a large seal population from getting out of control, and further raising havoc with a very delicate eco-system, that is already being tested to its limits. Also for most sealers, income from harvesting seals has historically represented about one-third of their annual income and it is absolutely essential, that it be maintained.
Just to remind you, from 1995 to 2006, seal quotas were being harvested at virtually 100 per cent, and the seal biomass stood at about 5.4 million, however over the last 8 years, we have managed to harvest one year’s quota, and the seal herd (harps) approximates 8 million and growing.