Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans has released this year’s total
allowable catch for harp seals despite a lack of demand worldwide for seal
fur. Experts with IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) are appalled that the Canadian
government is persisting with the commercial seal hunt in spite of dwindling
“This quota is outrageous,” said Sheryl Fink, a senior researcher with IFAW.
“With the current state of fur markets, there’s no place for pelts to go, even
at reduced prices, yet the Canadian government has no problem allowing 280,000
seals to die even if it means the pelts will likely sit in a warehouse for the
Recent economic evaluations have indicated that the market for seal fur is
saturated, causing prices to drop by almost half. Processors report that sales
of seal pelts all but stopped at the end of 2007, and in early 2009, still do
not appear to have recovered.
Conservation concerns also surround this year’s TAC announcement. The
Canadian government scientists have publicly said that a quota of this size will
deplete the harp seal population by more than 30%. IFAW maintains that the
government’s unwillingness to seriously reduce the TAC is not only
irresponsible, but downright reckless given that it is intended to cause the
population to decline.
The 2009 Canadian commercial seal hunt will be under intense around the world
as the European Union considers banning the trade in seal products throughout
its member states. Currently, Belgium, Croatia and the Netherlands have national
trade bans on seal products. Hungary, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech
Republic and Italy have also taken steps towards bans designed to close down
markets for seal pelts.
“How ironic that in the same week Russia has announced it will end its
commercial harp seal hunt, Canada has condemned one-third of the pups born this
year to a cruel and unnecessary death” said Fink. “The Canadian government seems
insistent on staying stuck in the dark ages,” she added.
Canada’s commercial seal hunt continues to be the world’s largest hunt for
marine mammals today. Last year over 217,000 seals were killed, 99.8% of which
were pups under three months old.
To learn more about IFAW’s efforts to end the Canadian commercial seal hunt,
visit www.stopthesealhunt.org today.