Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

December 20, 2007 10:21 ET

Statement by Loyola Hearn Minister of Fisheries and Oceans: Canada Committed to a Humane Seal Hunt

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 20, 2007) - The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has released a scientific study on the animal welfare aspects of global seal hunts. We are supportive of EFSA's recommendations since they uphold the legitimacy and humaneness of hunting practices and techniques that are used, regulated and enforced in Canada's annual commercial seal hunt.

Independent and peer-reviewed studies have shown - time and again - that the vast majority of seals in Canada are taken in a humane manner. We believe that Canada's current practices are consistent with EFSA's general recommendations and we are already taking measures to address some of the issues raised in the study.

The Government of Canada is committed to sustainable management of these renewable resources and to ensuring a well managed and well regulated hunt. With more than 5.5-million harp seals along our eastern and northern coastlines, clearly Canada sets appropriate annual quotas to keep seal populations healthy.

It's important to remember that sealing and fishing are complementary and deeply engrained traditions that have allowed Aboriginal, Inuit and non-aboriginal peoples to provide for their families for generations. Through hard work, knowledge of the marine environment and sustainable practices, Canada's hunt provides valuable income and creates opportunities for thousands of Canadian sealers and their families.

Canada's approach to seal hunts is based on facts, internationally recognized science and respect for centuries-old cultural traditions, instead of moral objections and the frequent misinformation of anti-sealing groups, which EFSA admits "may contain potentially unproven serious biases." The Government of Canada will continue to inform this discussion with integrity and to defend the rights of Canadian sealers to take part in our lawful, sustainable and humane hunt.

Contact Information

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