Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

March 15, 2007 15:24 ET

Canada's New Government Supports Canada's East Coast and Arctic Seal Hunts

Statement by Loyola Hearn Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 15, 2007) - I am aware that today is a day chosen by animal rights groups to tell a one-sided, misleading story about the seal hunt. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight to Canadians the Government of Canada's support for the sustainable, economically viable and culturally significant East Coast and Arctic seal hunts.

I am encouraged to learn that, in their study of the humaneness of the hunt, the European Commission will be sending veterinary experts to observe the seal hunt this year. With all of the misinformation circulating around the seal hunt, I continue to work with my federal, provincial and territorial counterparts to advance Canada's position on the seal hunt internationally.

Canada's seal hunt serves as a model for other wild hunts around the world. The hunt is closely monitored and tightly regulated. Hunting methods have been proven humane. An independent veterinarians' report published in 2002 in the Canadian Veterinary Journal found that the large majority of seals taken during the hunt are killed in an acceptably humane manner.

The seal hunt is a significant source of income for individual fishermen and for the economy of Atlantic Canada. It also supports many other industries through the supply of protein through its use as food; its medicinal use, through the production of omega-3 oils; and its use in the garment industry to supply fur and leather.

The personal use or subsistence hunt is a valuable link to our cultural heritage. In the North, Inuit and other Aboriginal groups use seals for food, clothing, fuel and arts and crafts. Seal hunting is a central foundation of their culture, and it sustains traditional sharing customs, a special knowledge of the seal resource and its ecosystem, and the passing on of skills from elders to youth.

It's time to inject some much-needed balance and accuracy into the Canadian sealing issue. Inform yourself, then decide. For more of the facts of Atlantic Canada's seal hunt, please visit "Seal Hunt Myths and Realities" at

My department continues to monitor ice conditions in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and I will be announcing details of the 2007 seal hunt in the coming days.

The Honourable Loyola Hearn

Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Office of the Minister
    Steve Outhouse, Director of Communications