Atlantic Canada seal hunt starts slowly
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2009:
HALIFAX–The 2009 Atlantic Canadian seal hunt opened quietly
on Hays Island off Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, on February 4, with
only one sealing vessel sailing. The much larger Gulf of St.
Lawrence and Labrador Front phases of the hunt were expected to start
several weeks later
The most prominent protester appeared to be Atlantic Canadian
Anti-Sealing Coalition spokesperson Bridget Curran. The Humane
Society of the U.S. and International Fund for Animal Welfare usually
make appearances at the start of the Gulf of St. Lawrence hunt. The
Sea Shepherd Conserv-ation Society ship Farley Mowat, seized by the
Canadian government after confronting sealers near Cape Breton in
April 2008, remains in custody in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans in November
2008 filed a statement of claim against the Farley Mowat for $487,000
in dockage fees.
Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson has billed the Canadian
government $1,000 per day for holding the Farley Mowat–which he had
said would be retired, after the 2007-2008 Sea Shepherd winter
campaign against Japanese whaling in Antarctic waters.
Officially held to protect fish stocks, the Cape Breton hunt
began one week before the scientific journal Fish & Fisheries
published findings from modeling of climatic change which indicate
that the already depleted Atlantic cod population is likely to fall
another 50% by the year 2050.
The Hays Island seal hunt has a 2009 quota of 2,200, about
6.5% of the total for all phases of the hunt. Cape Breton sealers in
2008 killed 1,200 of a quota of 2,500.
Peaking at $97 in 2006, harp seal pelt prices fell to $33 in 2008.
New sealing rules requiring sealers to use firearms instead
of clubs to kill seals don’t apply on Hays Island because use of
firearms is illegal there, to avoid disturbing sea bird colonies.
A rare prosecution of a sealer for improperly killing seals
concluded in the second week of February 2009 when Ashley Gould, 27,
of Anchor Point, Newfoundland, was fined $2,000 and suspended from
participating in the first day of the 2009 Gulf of St. Lawrence hunt.
Gould was videotaped in 2008 killing seal pups with a shovel.