FISH-NL: Reopening the seal hunt – “If licensed sealers want to hunt seal let them hunt seal.”

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is disappointed with a decision by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans to reopen the seal hunt to a limited harvest between March 28-April 7. Early last week FISH-NL called on DFO to reopen the harp and hood seal hunt to all harvesters and all fleets in Newfoundland and Labrador by March 25th. The federal government closed the hunt on March 15th to allow time for seal whelping and nursing. On Friday, FISH-NL was informed by federal sources that the seal hunt would reopen by March 28th (which it will be — 6 a.m. Tuesday morning), but not for all fleets and harvesters.  Instead, licences will only be issued to a small number of vessels hunting adult seals for Phucolax International, a Fleur de Lys-based sealing operation that’s in the market right  now for up to 4,000 animals. “It’s acknowledged by all quarters that an unchecked seal population is having an impact on delicate stocks such as shrimp, crab and cod, so why is DFO putting any restrictions at all on reopening the hunt?” asks Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “If licensed sealers want to hunt seal let them hunt seal.” Ryan Cleary 14:33