Plan to Halt the Seal Hunt on Prince Edward Island

    Sealers Will Receive Cash Premiums Not to Hunt

    PEI "The Gentle Island"

    NEW CANAAN, Conn., March 26 /CNW/ -- American businesswoman, Cathy
Kangas, and Lenie 't Hart, Director of a Dutch seal sanctuary, announced today
they are offering a three prong proposal to the community of Atlantic Canada
Prince Edward Island (PEI) to stop the seal hunt in that province.
    The unique plan, which was created after consultation with PEI sealers
and fishermen, Minister of Tourism for PEI the Hon. Philip Brown, the Atlantic
Veterinary College and wildlife officers, will be presented to the fishermen
and residents of PEI. It consists of three distinct, yet interrelated
    - A premium for holders of sealing licenses on PEI who declare they will
not hunt seals. At the present time, there are approximately 26 sealing
licenses held by PEI fishermen. If all the fishermen on PEI elect not to use
their licenses for this year's hunt, they will receive a financial premium
paid over a period of installments. This is not a buyback of licenses. Rather
it is a friendly gesture and a show of commitment by all parties to promote a
seal positive image for PEI.
    - A solution to damages caused by grey seals foraging off the bait and
lobsters in lobster traps. The Seal Rehabilitation and Research Centre in the
Netherlands will make a researcher available, who will work closely with PEI
fishermen and research institutes to develop methods for protecting the
lobster traps. A device has already been created to repel seals.
    - Increase tourism to PEI. The PEI government has already committed
itself to The Prince Edward Island Strategy for Tourism Competitiveness
2005-2010 developed by the Tourism Advisory Council. Part of this strategy is
to brand PEI as "The Gentle Island". Kangas and 't Hart will join fishermen,
government officials, and businesses that depend on the tourism in developing
environmentally and socially responsible tourism ventures. The strategy will
include bringing tour operators, the cruise industry and the media to PEI.
Also under consideration are seal watch tours and the creation of a marine
conservation center.
    Cathy Kangas said: "We believe that the sealers of Prince Edward Island
recognize how detrimental the seal hunt is to the reputation of the Island.
Our goal is to establish PEI as a model, which other seal hunting communities
can follow. At a time where the survival of seal population is also
increasingly under threat due to global warming and melting ice floes, PEI
fishermen are willing to accept viable alternatives."
    Lenie 'Hart, who has spent the past week on PEI meeting with sealers and
tourism officials, added: "Many of the Islanders told me that they want the
seal hunt to stop because it reflects badly on the province. With the support
of various animal welfare organizations around the world, combined with people
who love animals, I believe that PEI can live up to its claim as "The Gentle
Island," a place where animals and people live in harmony as well as an
exciting tourist destination."

    Contact: Mary Duffy
    The Dilenschneider Group
    (212) 922-0900) Cell (917) 854-6480


For further information:

For further information: Mary Duffy of The Dilenschneider Group, 
+1-212-922-0900, cell, +1-917-854-6480

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