Seals & sealing
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2000:
The Atlantic Canada seal hunt
closed on June 15 with about 94,000 seal carcasses
landed, 184,000 short of quota.
Claiming the harp seal population is near an
all-time high, the Canadian Department of
Fisheries and Oceans said bad ice conditions
caused the shortfall. Blaming seals for collapsed
fish stocks, Atlantic Canadians from
1996 to 1999 killed more than a million seals.
British Columbia fish farmers,
said the Canadian DFO, in 1999 killed 470
harbor seals, 133 California sea lions, and
87 Stellar sea lions. Stellar sea lions are listed
as endangered in nearby U.S. waters.
Also blaming seals for falling fish
catches, Namibia plans to “drastically
increase” its sealing quota, set at 30,000 seal
pups and 5,000 seal bulls in 1999. The
Namibian sealing season starts on August 1.
Irish inshore fishers claim seal
consumption of fish has forced as many as
75% of small boat owners out of the business.
The Australian government h a s
authorized two vessels trawling off Tasmania
to kill up to 15 seals each as “incidental take”
and 15 more apiece for scientific research.
The final toll on Caspian seals
from an unidentified infectious disease linked
with hot weather is believed to be about
11,000, says the Kazakstan Environmental
Ministry. Apparently also killing sturgeon,
the disease raged throughout May.