From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1997:

OTTAWA––Canadian fisheries minister
Fred Mifflin on Christmas Eve raised the
Atlantic Canadian harp sealing quota to 275,000,
up from 250,000 last spring, when 247,000 carcasses
were retrieved and thousands more washed
up on Newfoundland beaches. Although newborns,
called whitecoats, were and are off limits,
about 2,200 whitecoats were killed.
Mifflin left the quota for adult hooded
seals at 8,000, as in 1996, with juveniles, or
bluebacks, still off limits––but last year sealers
actually killed as many as 22,800 bluebacks. The
Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans has
charged 101 sealers including former Canadian
Sealers Association president Mark Small with
illegally killing whitecoats and bluebacks.

Oblivious to protest against the wholesale
massacre of seals, the DFO on January 28
also responded to public concern about the shooting
of one seal near Meadowbank, Prince Edward
Island, by announcing that charges would be laid
against two suspects. A DFO spokesperson called
it “an isolated incident.”
Newfoundland fisheries minister John
Efford sought a higher quota, claiming the industry
has orders for 450,000 seal carcasses.
The 1996 Canadian seal hunt, the
largest since 1983, “yielded economic benefits of
$11 million to $15 million,” the Halifax Daily
News reported, adding that, “Sales were primarily
in Asia,” where seal penises are sought as
aphrodisiacs. The total included $2.3 million in
federal and provincial subsidies to sealers, the
sealing industry, and the Canadian Sealers
Association, and about $4.3 million in sales of
pelts and carcasses.
The numbers work out to about $17.40
U.S. per seal retrieved, plus $6.59 in subsidies,
for a total of $24.00 apiece.
The primary buyers were the Carino
Company, part of Reiber Norway; the Northeast
Sealers Cooperative; Terranova Fisheries; India
Bay Frozen Foods; and Gateway Maritime.
Norway lifted a five-year ban on killing
seal pups in December 1995, after Reiber Norway
threatened to quit the sealing business. The
Norwegian government claimed the resumption
was to protect cod stocks. The Norwegian seal
pup quota for 1997 is to be 17,050, the same as in
1995 and 1996, when 14,800 and 16,767 pups
were killed.
Namibia and Russia are the other major
players in the sealing industry. A scandal broke in
Namibia in mid-January when Henties Bay shopping
mall owner Peter Whitham, investigating a
strong stench in the neighorhood, discovered an
illegal processing plant apparently operated with
the complicity of the mayor, Alfred Liebenberg,
which was allegedly making jerky for human consumption
out of meat which was considered unfit.

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