International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

September 15, 2011 16:03 ET

Available for Comment: IFAW Condemns FRCC Report Calling for Mass Extermination of Grey Seals

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 15, 2011) - The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is condemning a Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) report, released today, which calls for a massive cull of as many 146,000 grey seals in order to "test the hypothesis that predation by grey seals is the major factor preventing recovery of groundfish stocks".

A significant flaw with the FRCC recommendation is that it does not evaluate the interactions between seals and other species, and ignores entirely the positive effects of grey seals and other top predators on the ecosystem as a whole. As noted in DFO's March, 2011 Scientific Advisory Report on the impacts of grey seals on fish populations in eastern Canada, "any intervention [and that would include the proposed grey seal cull] in the southern Gulf would first require a thorough investigation of the multi-species impacts of a cod-seal interaction in this ecosystem". Such an investigation has not yet been done.

In addition, there is a growing body of scientific research that challenges the notion that seals are responsible for impeding the recovery of groundfish stocks. A recent study from the Bedford Institute of Oceanography and Queen's Univeristy (published in Nature) indicates that cod and other groundfish stocks on the eastern Scotian Shelf are recovering – yet the Scotian Shelf is home to the largest population of grey seals in Atlantic Canada.

IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) was established in 1969 and its founding campaign was in opposition to Canada's commercial seal hunt. IFAW has more than 40 years of experience raising awareness, documenting and opposing the cruel commercial hunts for seals in Canada and around the world.

Dr. David Lavigne, IFAW Science Advisor, is available for comment.

Contact Information

  • Michelle Cliffe
    IFAW Global Communications Lead, Seals
    +1 647 986 4329
    Twitter: @IFAWCanada @MichelleCliffe