Despite evidence that increasing the seal hunt quota could bring the harp seal population down the dangerous levels, the Canadian government has approved a 55,000 seal increase to quota for the upcoming commercial seal hunt.
The increase brings the total to 338,000 young seals scheduled to be brutally killed. Canada’s Humane Society said the higher quota could bring the downfall of the species, much like times in the past when the population dropped two-thirds in a decade with an inflated quota.
But activists maintain that the only acceptable quota is zero. Regardless of their desire to hunt, the commercial seal hunt may have trouble selling the pelts from the 338,000 seals (most of which are under 1 year old) because of an impending ban on seal products from the European Union.
“It’s not supported by markets, it’s not supported by the DFO’s (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) own management plan, and it’s certainly not going to be supported by the majority of Canadians,” said Sheryl Fink, senior researcher at the International Fund for Animal Welfare. “There are no markets for seal products, and with a potential European-wide ban on the horizon, no signs that the economic outlook is going to improve anytime soon.”
Such a ban is pivotal in forcing Canada’s seal hunt to go the way of Russia’s, so activists are keeping pressure on European Union leaders to pass the ban. This year’s seal hunt may very well be the last.