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March 10, 2008
OTTAWA – The Honourable Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today announced the total allowable catch (TAC) and other management measures for the 2008 Atlantic seal hunt.
"The seal hunt is an economic mainstay for numerous rural communities in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and the North," said Minister Hearn. "It’s with these people in mind we make decisions based on science to help maintain an economically viable and sustainable seal hunt."
The 2008 harp seal TAC has been set at 275,000, out of a herd of more than 5.5 million. This one-year TAC includes allocations of 2,000 seals for personal use, 4,950 seals for Aboriginal initiatives and a carry forward of 16,186 seals for those fleets who did not capture their quota from 2007. Once the carry forward is deducted, existing sharing arrangements remain in place, with the Front receiving about 70% of the TAC and about 30% for the Gulf. The 2008 hooded seal TAC has been set at 8,200 animals out of a herd of 600,000.
The government has taken further steps to ensure the hunt continues to be conducted in a humane manner, adopting recommendations of the Independent Veterinarians Working Group.
Highlighting this government’s commitment to a sustainable commercial hunt is Minister Hearn’s direction to accelerate the next harp seal population survey. To ensure DFO makes future decisions on the most up-to-date science, the Department has already started its population survey instead of waiting until 2009, as originally planned.
"Our fisheries science is among the world’s best, and thanks to additional investments by this government, we are able to do even more," said Minister Hearn. "Having shorter periods between seal surveys allows us to more easily assess ice conditions, reproductive rates and other factors that affect Canada’s harp seal population."
Canada’s seal hunt is humane, sustainable and responsible. A number of independent reports have supported this over the years, including the recent European Food Safety Authority report on the animal welfare aspects of global seal hunts.
Opening dates for the 2008 harp seal hunt will be announced in the coming weeks, following consultation with industry.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
| Phil Jenkins
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
| Joshua Zanin
Special Assistant, Communications
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada