Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

March 20, 2009 19:17 ET

Minister Shea Announces the 2009 Management Measures for the Atlantic Seal Hunt

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 20, 2009) - The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today announced the total allowable catch (TAC) for the 2009 Atlantic seal hunt.

"Sealing is a significant source of income in many small, isolated coastal communities throughout Atlantic Canada, Quebec and the North," said Minister Shea. "Our management decisions for the hunt take into account this fact as well as the advice of scientists to ensure the seal population is maintained."

The 2009 harp seal TAC has been set at 280,000, out of a herd of more than 5.5 million. This one-year TAC includes allocations of 2,000 seals for personal use, 5,040 seals for Aboriginal initiatives and a carry forward of 13,092 seals for those fleets that did not capture their quota from 2008. About 70% of the TAC is allocated to the Front (waters east of Newfoundland and Labrador). The Gulf of St. Lawrence receives about 30% of the TAC.

The hooded seal TAC has been set at 8,200 animals out of a herd of 600,000. The grey seal TAC for 2009 is 50,000 animals out of a herd of 300,000.

"Canada is a world leader in the management of the seal hunt. DFO's Fishery Officers will be closely monitoring this year's hunt to ensure compliance with the regulations and licence conditions, and they will take enforcement action when necessary," said Minister Shea.

Surveillance is conducted through ongoing aerial patrols, cameras, sophisticated vessel monitoring systems, at-sea and dockside vessel inspections, regular inspections of processing facilities, and independent third party observers.

Minister Shea also repeated the Government of Canada's commitment to defend Canada's humane and sustainable seal hunt, and the livelihoods that depend on it, while on the international stage.

"Our government will continue to defend the rights of Canadian sealers to provide a livelihood for their families through our lawful, sustainable and humane hunt, said Shea. We are extremely disappointed that the European Parliament has called for a disruption of the trade of seal products and our position remains that any ban on a humanely conducted hunt, such as Canada's, is completely without merit. We will continue to explore all legal and diplomatic options and Canadians can be assured that we will exercise our rights to their fullest extent under international trade laws if and when it becomes necessary and appropriate."

To learn more about the seal hunt, visit:

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Phil Jenkins
    Media Relations
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
    Office of the Minister
    Ann Matejicka
    Director of Communications