April 14, 2014 –  St. John’s :   The commercial seal harvest opens today. The 2014 quota will allow for the harvest of up to 400,000 harp seals. It is hoped between 60,000 and 100,000 will be taken. Conditions will be challenging in some areas as there is heavy pack ice close to shore. Support for the harvest is strong and MP Gail Shea, minister for Fisheries and Oceans stated the industry is challenged by WTO trade unfair decisions which had also set a dangerous precedent for future trade relations ” “Trade should be governed by facts and evidence and not based on issues or morality fueled by misinformation,” she said. Currently seal industry stakeholders and representatives are  pushing ahead with a court case in the European Union aimed at overturning a ban on seal products, and the federal government is appealing an unfair World Trade Organization decision to uphold the ban on imports into the EU marketplace.