101 sealers hit for killing pups
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1996:
ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland––Canadian Sealers
Association president Mark Small, of Wild Cove, Newfoundland,
was among 101 individuals indicted on November 21 for
allegedly illegally killing and selling the remains of hooded seal
pups, called bluecoats, during the heavily subsidized resumption
last spring of the annual offshore hunt that was an early
focus of the animal rights movement.
Small was charged with selling 152 bluecoats to the
Carino Co. Ltd. in three batches last March.
Apparently beginning on April 4, several weeks
before the killing ended, the Canadian Department of Fisheries
and Oceans repeatedly raided the Carino seal carcass processing
plant in South Dildo, Newfoundland, seizing more than 25,000
pelts––nearly 10% of the official kill quota of 250,000 harp
seals and 8,000 hooded seals. The slaughter was briefly interrupted
when the DFO discovered that the sealers had actually
killed more than 16,000 hooded seals, but resumed with the goahead
to kill another 60,000 harp seals.
In addition to the quota limit of carcasses retrieved,
countless more seals were killed and not retrieved. Rotting
remains washing up on Newfoundland beaches later caused
alarm about the possible effects on tourism and public health.
Brian Tobin, then Canadian Minister for Fisheries
and Oceans, authorized resumption of the offshore seal hunt
shortly before resigning to run successfully for premiership of
Newfoundland. The offshore hunt had been suspended due to
international protest since 1983, though land-based sealing had
continued with steadily increasing quotas. Tobin hoped to
evade protest by keeping protesters and media well away from
the ice, and by forbidding the killing of seal pups.
Some of the sealers told media they thought the ban
on killing pups applied only to the whitecoated harp seal pups.