Feds put up $5.7 million to market seal products

The federal government is putting $5.7 million toward marketing the sealing industry, despite the hunt grinding to a halt. The money, announced in the 2015 federal budget, will be dedicated to opening up new products and markets for the sealing industry. The quota for the 2015 hunt is 400,000 seals, but in 2014 there were only 60,000 seals harvested. The last seal pelt processor, Carino Processing of South Dildo, N.L., was subsidized by the provincial government to buy pelts. Carino announced this year it will not buy seal pelts or fat this year, leaving a $1-million provincial loan on the table. That leaves the industry effectively dead. Anti-sealing groups no longer bother to fly to Newfoundland and Labrador to monitor the seal hunt. But the government is hoping the $5.7-million investment over five years can open up new markets, particularly in Europe. That may seem an Read more

Carino not buying seals this year

CEO calls decision ‘short term pain for long term gain'; says market access key for future Carino Processing will not be buying seal pelts or fat this year, but company CEO Dion Dakins says the decision is geared to improve the industry's and the company's viability in the years ahead. Dakins said the company has inventory from previous hunts on hand. New player in this year's seal hunt promising to shake things up However, he said they will be purchasing a limited amount of seal meat from harvesters who are participating. As a result of the decision, Dakins said Carino has also decided not to access any of the $1 million loan announced last week by the provincial government. "At this point we just want to focus our efforts on the sale of our existing inventory," Dakins told CBC's Fisheries Read more

Canada Seal Hunt - Newfoundland And Labrador Opens Annual Hunt On Sunday

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The annual seal hunt off Newfoundland and Labrador will open Sunday. The federal Fisheries Department says sealers on the Front off northeastern Newfoundland and southern Labrador, as well as those based in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, can take to the water at 6 a.m. Fisheries says seal harvesters should check with their buyers to make sure there is a market for the seals before they head out. The department is also advising fishermen that they must do humane harvesting training before taking part in this year's hunt. The start of the season comes days after the Newfoundland and Labrador government contributed $2 million to two different processing plants to support the provincial sealing sector. An animal rights group condemned the financial aid, arguing the government is propping up a dying and inhumane industry. The Canadian Press Source: Read more

Swedish seal culls hit by new EU trading rules

The rules for selling seal products have been tightened. An exemption allowing the trade of products made from seals culled as part of wildlife management has been revoked by the EU, which could affect seal trade in Sweden. The EU commission made the decision after pressure from the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which in November 2013 called the exemption discriminatory. Sweden is one of si countries in the world that allows the hunting of seals, though only as part of wildlife management and with permission from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket). Around 300 seals were killed in 2014. The EU decision does not forbid the culling of seals. But rather than selling the fur or the meat, the products must now be destroyed. Swedish MEP Christofer Fjellner, member of the Moderate party, was among those who hit out at the new rules on Read more

‘Nail in coffin for Norwegian seal hunting’: Govt cuts subsidies

Norway has cut a 12 million kroner ($1.8 million) subsidy for seal hunting from next year’s budget. Environmentalists have applauded the move. Some businesses say it is putting an end to a historical and eco-friendly practice. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries say stripping the seal industry of subsidy has been dictated by “economic priorities.” The government is aware of how vital the financial support has been for the business. “Seal hunting businesses are run by 80 percent subsidies,” State Secretary Amund Ringdal of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries told the Norwegian news agency NTB. “When they are removed, the consequences will clearly be big. But we cannot say whether it's the final nail in the coffin for Norwegian seal hunting.” The opposition has criticized the government for yielding to pressure from the EU. “In reality the government gave in to Read more

Ground-breaking WTO decision puts animal welfare before Free Trade, based on morals.

After spending hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars to fight a ban put in place by the EU, the Canada and Norway governments received its answer from the World Trade Organization that countries can, in fact, ban products they consider to be inhumane. More money is spent on promotion, peddling, and fighting trade bans than the commercial seal hunt, which is performed by off-season, full time fishermen, could ever bring in. Since Canada’s government can’t prove that Northern economy depends on the seal hunt as they claim, a representative of Inuit was sent to trade ban hearings. This was irrelevant since Inuit are not included in the ban, and clearly the WTO thought so, too. There are still some Inuit who perform substantive hunting, and the EU and Taiwan international markets remain open to them. View the WTO Read more

Kaley Cuoco Latest Celeb To Oppose The Seal Hunt

In what is becoming a familiar refrain, a celebrity took to Twitter to post her thoughts on the Canadian seal hunt, and the "disgusting" practices carried out every year. Kaley Cuoco (who recently added her husband's last name, Sweeting, to her Twitter profile), star of "The Big Bang Theory," began her missives on Twitter on April 15, with this tweet: “@FriendsForSeals: http://t.co/CmkJUJYXOa pic.twitter.com/CDDcgaCiGu #sealhunt video” this is SO disgusting and needs to stop NOW please!— Kaley Cuoco Sweeting (@KaleyCuoco) April 16, 2014 The California native has continued since then, noting her disgust when people have defended the Canadian seal hunt: I'm disgusted hearing the Canadian seal hunt is "humane". It's so "humane" I'm unable 2 post any pics it's so grotesque. My heart breaks— Kaley Cuoco Sweeting (@KaleyCuoco) April 16, 2014 The Humane Society has clarified its position on the seal hunt, making Read more

"Why do some people say seal pups aren't killed?"

When harp seal pups are born, they are known as "white coats". This is the fur popular for non-essential fur items only. When they are about 12 days old, they begin to molt the fuzzy baby fur they were born with. At the thought of defenseless seal pups being killed, public outcry was enormous. But Canada government, still wants that beuatiful white fur, which is gone forever when at approximately 3 months old it's replaced by light gray with dark spots. What to do? Thinking they would appease the world, they decided that "technically" when the fuzz begins to shed (and the pups still have white fur) now being "ragged jackets", they aren't pups anymore. Counting on the public to just believe what they're told, Canada's government continues to declare that seal "pups", "babies", and "white coats" aren't skinned. In reality, and Read more

Gail Shea says animal rights activists stopped seal meat sale to China

HALIFAX – Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea says a trade agreement to sell seal meat in China has been largely thwarted by animal rights activists. Shea announced the deal in January 2011 in Beijing, saying that gaining access to the world’s most populous country would breathe new life into an industry crippled that year by a new European ban on seal products. But the Chinese government later said it had called for a review of the deal, which has remained stalled ever since. Shea is now blaming the animal rights movement for pressuring the Chinese government to back away from the deal over concerns the Canadian seal hunt is inhumane. She says those opposed to the sealing industry have succeeded in spreading misinformation about the slaughter of seal pups, a practice that was banned in the 1980s. The annual East Coast hunt started Monday Read more

This year's seal slaughter begins. This article is loaded with the typical propaganda and misinformation.

Canada’s annual seal hunt began last week, much to the dismay of, among others, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Chefs for Seals — the organization’s anti-sealing campaign — has, for eight years, promoted a boycott against all Canadian fish and seafood products as a means of pressuring Ottawa to impose a ban on commercial sealing. The campaign’s Facebook page states that, “More than 6,000 restaurants and grocery stores (in addition to 800,000 individuals) have joined the Protect Seals boycott of Canadian seafood. They are making it clear that the Canadian annual commercial seal hunt is an unacceptable business practice undertaken by Canada’s fishing industry. Why, though, is commercial sealing an unacceptable business practice? Seals aren’t endangered. Indeed, the threat status for harp seals — determined by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature — is “least concern” and Read more

Seal Hunt

Swedish seal culls hit by new EU trading rules

The rules for selling seal products have been tightened. An exemption allowing the trade of products made from seals culled as part of wildlife management has been revoked by the EU, which could affect seal trade in Sweden.

The EU commission made the decision after pressure from the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which in November 2013 called the exemption discriminatory.

Sweden is one of si
countries in the world that allows the hunting of seals, though only as part of wildlife management and with permission from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket). Around 300 seals were killed in 2014.

The EU decision does not forbid the culling of seals. But rather than selling the fur or the meat, the products must now be destroyed.

Swedish MEP Christofer Fjellner, member of the Moderate party, was among those who hit out at the new rules on Friday.

“The consequence is that you introduce legislation that says ‘shoot and dig'”, he said.

The new rules do not affect seal product trade amongst the Inuit people of the Arctic.

Last year the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) ruled that up to 400 seals could be culled along the country’s coast in a bid to protect depleting stocks of fish.

“The seals cause significant damage for the fishing industry every year,” the agency concluded in a statement.

The Local SE
Source: http://www.thelocal.se/20150206/new-eu-rules-affect-swedish-seal-hunt

Posted on by FriendsForSealsOrg

China activists tell Canada… “Stop the Seal Hunt or Face Seafood Boycott in China”

DALIAN, CHINA–(Marketwire – Nov 8, 2012) – On November 6, 2012, the opening day of the 17th China Fisheries and Seafood Expo in Dalian, Northeast China, a large Canadian fisheries delegation met with a strong protest from Chinese activists. More than 30 Chinese activists converged in Dalian from different cities across China, and presented to the Canadian exhibitors an open letter asking the Canadian fishing industry and government to stop viewing China as a dumping ground for the cruel seal products. A huge banner reading, “Canada, Stop Seal Hunt or Face Seafood Boycott in China” caught the attention of hundreds of exhibitors and visitors in the crowded international section of the Expo.

“The Canadian government is making a colossal mistake in promoting seal products in China,” said Dan Zhang, a Beijing based activist, upon learning of the protest in Dalian. “China will never become a dumping ground for products of cruelty that have been rejected by Canadians and the world community alike. Given commercial fishermen are killing the seals in Canada, it is not surprising that the backlash against seal product trade in China is now spreading to Canadian seafood. Chinese activists are determined to launch a nationwide boycott of Canadian seafood products unless Canada stops marketing seal products in our country.”

The China Fisheries and Seafood Expo is the largest international exhibition event in China. It attracts hundreds of fisheries traders from Asia, Europe and North America. Foreign exhibitors represent some 50% of the attendees. Canada sent a sizable delegation led by the Canadian Agriculture and Fisheries Ministries. Seal meat and seal organs were listed on the product info sheets of some Canadian exhibitors.

According to the Chinese sources, Canada is China”s 5th largest seafood supplier. In 2011, China imported over $352 million worth of Canadian seafood, far outstripping the value of the seal trade between the two countries. “It is terribly unwise for Canada to risk a disruption of the normal trade between the two countries by imposing seal products, which are derived through terrible cruelty to animals, on the Chinese market,” said Qin Xiaona, director of Beijing”s Animal Welfare Association.

Protesters did not just focus on the Canadian exhibitors. They approached most other foreign exhibitors as well. “We want businesses from other countries to know that the Chinese people are not irresponsible consumers,” remarked an activist from Shandong. As a country with spotted seals, a Chinese indigenous and endangered species, the Chinese protesters also feared that Canadian seal trade with China could encourage illegal hunting of the Chinese seals. To Tian Jiguang, director of the Chinese Society for the Protection of the Spotted Seals, Canada has a moral responsibility to be sensitive and not to promote seal trade.

Click here (http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/Photos_of_protesters.pdf) to view photos of Chinese activists protesting the Canadian fisheries delegation at the China Fisheries and Seafood Expo in Dalian, Northeast China. (Credit:JGT 2012)

Click here to read the Yahoo! News article.

Posted on by FriendsForSealsOrg

Plan to cull 70,000 grey seals gets Senate panel’s approval

The Senate’s fisheries committee has endorsed a contentious cull of 70,000 grey seals in the Gulf of St. Lawrence over a four-year period, in a bid to conserve cod stocks.

The Senate’s standing committee on fisheries and oceans began hearings last year to respond to a Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat call for an experimental — and unprecedented — cull of grey seals.

On Tuesday the committee released a report that acknowledged “the ecological risks raised by some witnesses” but nevertheless supports “the logic of the proposed experimental reduction of grey seals in this area.”

There were an estimated 104,000 of the animals living in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence as of 2010, the Senate committee said in a news release.

The report also recommends setting up a bounty system to compensate hunters, but it didn’t say how much the bounty should be. There is no market for grey seal pelts.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) blames the seals for preventing cod stocks from recovering in the Gulf.

Acting fisheries minister Gail Shea is under pressure from the fishing industry to do something about the stalled cod recovery in the Gulf, where there’s indirect scientific evidence suggesting hungry grey seals are to blame.

But critics say that plans for a cull have been driven by politics, not science.

A group of marine biologists at Dalhousie University in Halifax issued an open letter last fall that said a cull could produce unintended consequences, including further depletion of the cod.

The letter said the proposal couldn’t be justified by existing scientific evidence and was biased because it focused only on the negative impact of grey seals.

Jeff Hutchings, a biologist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, said that a cull of grey seals could not be expected to save cod.

“It’s not a two-species ecosystem. It’s a multi-species ecosystem,” said Hutchings, who appeared before the Senate fisheries committee.

EU ban reduces seal market

Hutchings said the available science does not support a cull.

“One cannot credibly predict from a science perspective whether a cull of grey seals would have a positive impact on cod or negative impact on cod … or no impact whatsoever,” he said.

Grey seals represent only a small percentage of the annual seal hunt in Eastern Canada, with harp seals by far dominating the traditional market.

However, that market has collapsed in re
cent years, in the wake of a European Union ban against Canadian seal products.

The Senate committee isn’t the first group of legislators to recommend a cull of grey seals. In May 2007, an all-party Commons committee recommended that Sable Island be opened up to a grey seal hunt, but that recommendation was ignored.

Although the Fisheries Department says seal hunters can kill up to 60,000 grey seals annually, only a few hundred have been killed since 2009.

Frank Pinhorn, executive director of the Canadian Sealers Association, said trying to turn a grey seal cull into a commercial venture could be a hard sell.

“The price would have to go up, because it would have to be worthwhile for sealers to go and harvest these animals in order to make it worthwhile for them to do so,” he said.

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Tax payers on hook for $2.5 million, and losing money each year, but Darin King calls seal hunt a success.

It may have only been a fraction of the size of the seal hunt a decade ago, but compared to the last couple of years, Fisheries Minister Darin King is calling the 2012 seal hunt an unqualified success.

In total, hunters took close to 70,000 animals this year nearly double what was taken in 2011.

“It’s all positive from our perspective,” King said. “I fail to find how you can call it a failure when we’ve grown it so much in such a short time and we see markets open up.”

This year’s seal hunt got off the ground in large part because the government offered up a $3.6 million loan to Carino, a seal pelt processor, in order to allow the company to buy pelts.

The money was to be used to buy up to 100,000 pelts; since only part of that was taken, the government is on the hook for around $2.5 million.

King said the money hasn’t been paid out to Carino yet, and he expects it will still be repaid “by Christmas” as he originally stated when he announced the loan earlier this spring.

“We have every confidence that there won’t be an issue with the repayment,” he said.

At the same time, he made it clear the money was for one-year only, and as far as he’s concerned, it won’t happen again.

“I can say with certainty that when cabinet made the decision, we made the decision in the context of this as a one-shot deal,” King said. “Hopefully once we get through this year, by next year this time, the markets will have opened up.”

Sheryl Fink, director of the seal program for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), dismissed King’s optimism.

“We’re still seeing a hunt that is much reduced from what it had been in previous years, 25 times smaller than what it was in 2006,” Fink said. “I don’t think this is an industry that’s going to come back, and we need to help transition people away, make sure they’re properly and appropriately compensated for any loss of income.”

In recent years, the IFAW and some other animal welfare groups have pressed the government to bail out seal harvesters to end the hunt.

But politicians of all stripes said they believe things are turning around for the beleaguered hunt.

New Democrat MHA Christopher Mitchelmore said he believes more needs to be done to market seal products to people in the province, but he applauded the government for offering the loan to Carino.

“In terms of looking at it from last year, it is more successful than previous years,” he said. “We’re moving in the right direction. I do think the minister cares about the seal hunt and I think we’re going to see some good things in the future.”

Liberal fisheries critic Jim Bennett said as far as he’s concerned, the primary focus should be on the size of the herd and ultimately used to control the seal population.

“The herd is way overpopulated and the first thing we need to do is decide on the size of the hunt,” he said. “What is sustainable and what is appropriate? And that needs to be done in conjunction with the scientists.”

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Harb bill update – May 2, 2012

Conservative and Liberal parties of Canada support the seal hunt, rather the taxpayer supports it. Both party’s stance seems an effort of keeping the crucial votes from coastal communities. In the past, this has caused Members of Parliament who are against the seal hunt, or would just like to discuss ending it, to keep their silence.

Senator Mac Harb (L), who had already presented his bill in 2010, but was greeted with only the sound of crickets, wasn’t able to get a second motion, which didn’t allow for debate of finally ending the commercial seal slaughter.

Today, Senator Larry Campbell (L) seconded the motion, and was voted unanimously by all parties. This will bring the bill to debate at the second reading.

The Harb bill gives ample proof that the seal hunt, which is performed by full-time fishermen, has lost its customers.

Taxpayer funds have been used to stockpile seals, in the hopes someone would buy them, but as each year passes, more and more countries are not only banning the products, but urging the Canadian government to stop the cruel practice.

Senator Harb’s bill calls for a transition for the fishermen, who make approximately 1% of their income by killing seals.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has been urging a license buyout, and in a Green Party announcement today said, “The sealing industry had been dying for years. It’s time to stop providing life support to this disappearing industry by ending the massive government subsidies.”

The call for the commercial seal hunt is separate from the hunting performed by aboriginal peoples, which this does not affect.

Posted on by FriendsForSealsOrg

Government provides $3.6 million loan to sealing industry

The provincial government announced today a $3.6-million loan to the sealing industry.

Fisheries Minister Darin King, flanked by representatives of the sealing industry, made the announcement in St. John’s and said the money is to be used to buy raw seal material.

King framed the announcement as a short-term measure to get the sealing industry through a tight few years.

“Through today’s announcement, our government is providing financial support for the seal processing industry in order to protect the future viability of the province’s seal hunt,” King said. “Securing new market access is extremely important if all stakeholders are to collectively revitalize the sealing industry. Today’s commitment by the Provincial Government of $3.6 million will ensure adequate raw material is available to Carino to address market demands as they arise, and will ensure hundreds of harvesters secure an income this year.”

This initiative will see an inventory loan provided to Carino to a maximum of $3.6 million for the purchase of seal pelts and blubber or fat. The company will show its commitment to the future of the industry by making a matching contribution for processing/marketing activities.

“Seal products harvested in Newfoundland and Labrador and other parts of Atlantic Canada provide significant economic benefit to the region, as well as other parts of the world,” said Dion Dakins, Chief Executive Officer of Carino. “Uncertainty around market access and political risk has made it increasingly difficult for companies trading in seal products to secure financing from traditional sources. Therefore, the support of the Provincial Government is essential to secure our future in Newfoundland and Labrador. This industry can continue to make a significant contribution to the economy once the external political issues are resolved over the next year or so. We are confident this will occur.”

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