Culling seal to save cods is nonsense

Toronto Sun - Culling seal to save cods is nonsense

It’s a predictable response, replete with arrogance, ignorance, rationalization and insensitivity.

Consider: Because the Atlantic cod has declined drastically in numbers and can no longer sustain a once-flourishing fishing industry, a Senate committee wants to cull some 70,000 grey seals “to preserve remaining fish stocks.”

This last quote from P.E.I. Sen. Elizabeth Hubley at Fisheries and Oceans committee hearings.

Isn’t that a typically human response — blame seals for the demise of the cod and other food fish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Grand Banks and North Atlantic?

From the days of the Vikings, a thousand years ago, the cod was the fish that was the staple of Europe. It was so abundant that the supply seemed inexhaustible — like the bison once seemed on the Prairies of North America.

Yet cod fishing in Newfoundland collapsed, and in 1992, Fisheries imposed an indefinite moratorium on cod fishing.

In 2000, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) declared the cod to be an endangered species, whose numbers had dropped by 70% in 30 years. Unless something was done, the cod would be extinct in 15 years.

So what is to be done? The Senate proposal blames seals — both harp seals and grey seals. This is nonsense. In past centuries, there were infinitely more seals in the fishing areas, yet the fish were in seemingly limitless supply.

We all acknowledge that overfishing has caused the demise of cod numbers (and haddock and flounder and hake), but we still prefer to blame seals. Perhaps this is because there is a small profit in killing seals for their pelts — and pretending we are doing it to save the fish!

Click here to read the full Toronto Sun article.

Posted on by FriendsForSealsOrg