FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 20th, 2017
The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on Ottawa to reopen by March 25th the harp and hood seal hunt to all harvesters and all fleets in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The federal government closed the hunt on March 15th to allow time for seal whelping and nursing, which will be all but wrapped up by the 25th. Sealers want to harvest the older seals then for their meat and high fat content (although the entire animal is utilized), but as more times passes, the animals lose their weight.
“There’s no reason not to reopen the seal hunt by the 25th,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Word has it that the feds want to wait until after April 10 to reopen the hunt, but that means the sealers — many of whom are fish harvesters — will miss out on precious income, especially with so many fisheries on the downturn.”
“We’re looking for 4,000-5,000 adult animals immediately after March 25th, and that’s a tiny portion of the overall quota,” says Brad Rideout, owner of Phucolax International, a seal operation in Fleur de Lys that employees dozens of workers. “Adult seals will still be in great shape then with the best meat and fat content.”
Seal oil currently sells for $257 a barrel vs. $48 for a barrel of crude oil.
When DFO shut down the seal hunt on March 15, the department did not give a reopening date.