Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

February 23, 2011 14:41 ET

Statement by Gail Shea Minister of Fisheries and Oceans: Canadian Seal Harvest

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 23, 2011) - The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today issued the following statement:

"Our government supports the legitimate economic activities of Canadians and that includes those 6,000 Canadian families who derive part of their annual income from the seal harvest.

The Canadian seal harvest has opened on Hay Island, Nova Scotia, which means international anti-seal hunt activists have ramped up their annual anti-sealing campaigns. Our government will not shy away from countering their efforts with the facts.

While the value of the seal harvest may appear negligible to some, it provides important income for thousands of Canadians families every year in remote coastal and northern communities. 

We will continue to ensure that these Canadians have the opportunity to harvest seals in a safe, sustainable and humane manner.

To this end, the Hay Island grey seal harvest is properly regulated and effectively monitored, and those who break the rules are held to account. Harvesting methods are based on the recommendations of an international panel of independent veterinarians.

Harvesting of newborn seals is expressly prohibited.

Further, the grey seal population is growing dramatically and now numbers over 350,000. All commercial harvests are well within sustainable harvest levels as determined by scientific experts.

Whether it is standing up for traditional markets, opening new markets internationally, or ensuring Canadians have the facts about the seal harvest, the Harper government will continue to defend Canadian sealers and their right to pursue an honest livelihood."

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    Frank Stanek
    Media Relations
    Office of the Minister
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    Kate Davis
    Press Secretary