November 8, 2011
Fisheries minister says proposed cull of 140,000 grey seals is based on science
FREDERICTON — Canada’s fisheries minister is shrugging off accusations that a proposed cull of 140,000 Atlantic grey seals is being driven by politics, not science.
Keith Ashfield was responding to four marine biologists at Dalhousie University in Halifax who say the five-year plan submitted for his approval is aimed only at appeasing fishermen as they struggle with dwindling cod stocks.
The scientists wrote an open letter to the minister in September, saying the proposal can’t be justified by the scientific evidence that’s available.
But Ashfield says the proposal is based on rigorous scientific research that shows hungry grey seals are the most likely reason why cod stocks are not recovering in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence.
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