North Atlantic seal hunt off to a strong start

OTTAWA, April 18, 2013 /CNW/ - Sealers working in the North Atlantic Ocean are on target to increase this year's harvest by 40% over last year's catch.

Nine days into the season, sealers estimate their harvest at almost 60,000 seals. "Good weather conditions and an abundant population of seals have contributed to the early success of this year's harvest," said Eldred Woodford, President of the Canadian Sealers Association.

Market demand for Canadian seal products is on the rise, said Ariane Bérubé of the Magdalen Islands Sealers Association. "We receive calls from people every day looking for Canadian seal products such as meat and Omega-3, a popular nutritional supplement, which is present in high concentrations in seal oil."

Dion Dakins, Chief Executive Officer of Carino Processing Ltd. applauds the Newfoundland and Labrador Government for again providing a $3.6M conditional repayable loan to finance the purchase of the skins and oil.  A similar loan was provided last year and was repaid in full with interest on sales conducted prior December 15, 2012.

"Our company will contribute, at a minimum, an equal amount of private financing to process and market the skins and oil.  This loan is integral to ensuring our employees and fishermen earn an income from this sustainable renewable resource," said Mr. Dakins.  He added that by operating this season he estimates that Carino, in partnership with the provincial government, has provided gainful employment to more than 1,000 seal hunters and plant workers in more than 40 coastal communities.

In addition to the economic importance for coastal communities, there is increasing evidence of the need to cull rapidly growing seal populations to protect fish stocks.

With a population of over seven million, seals now consume ten times more fish than Canada's entire fishing fleet catch.

This year's total allowable catch is estimated to be over 400,000. The industry has set its target for this season at 100,000.

Representatives from Canada's sealing industry, including seal harvesters, processors and veterinarians are available to discuss the economic, ecological and cultural importance of the seal hunt.

Broadcast quality video and images available.

SOURCE: Seals and Sealing Network

For further information:

Gil Theriault, Coordinator
Seals and Sealing Network
1.418.937.9222 or 1.613.231.7099

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