The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring a safe, well-managed, and humane seal harvest in accordance with the rules set out in the Marine Mammal Regulations (MMR) and through conditions of licence.
Fishery officers have the primary responsibility for Monitoring-Control-Surveillance (MCS) activities and enforcement of the commercial seal harvest in Canada. Their main objectives in monitoring the harvest are to:
A number of tools and surveillance methods are employed for a well-balanced enforcement program including:
In addition, the Canadian Coast Guard provides support when required. Monitoring and enforcement is provided, as needed, by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Quebec provincial police. At-sea observers may also be randomly deployed to individual sealing vessels. While observers do not have enforcement powers they complement the monitoring done by fishery officers by immediately reporting any irregularities.
Sealers who fail to observe humane harvesting practices, licence conditions, and catch requirements are penalized. Any violations of Canada’s regulations are taken very seriously. The consequences of such illegal actions are decided by the court and could include court-imposed fines, licence prohibitions and the forfeiting of catches, fishing gear, vessels and vehicles.