Chapter six - Seal licensing policy for Eastern Canada

This Seal Licensing Policy, made under the authority of the Fisheries Act and its Regulations, forms part of the Commercial Fisheries Licensing Policy for Eastern Canada and should be interpreted accordingly.

NOTA: In this policy, the expression "hunting for" has the same meaning as the expression "fishing for" as used in the Marine Mammal Regulations.

29. Application of the Policy

This policy applies to the registration of fishing vessels and the issuance of licences to all persons hunting (fishing) for, taking, or killing seals or otherwise engaging in sealing operations throughout the Canadian Fisheries Waters on the Atlantic Coast and, more specifically, the Sealing Areas 4 to 33 and the northern Quebec and Labrador portions of Sealing Area 3.

30. Interpretation

In this Policy, expressions have the same meanings as in the Commercial Fisheries Licensing Policy for Eastern Canada or as defined below:

(1) "Beneficiary" means a person enrolled as a beneficiary under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.

(2) "Sealing" means, for the purpose of the present policy, the hunting (fishing) for, killing and skinning of seals, the handling and transporting of raw seal pelts, meat or carcasses from the place where they are killed to the land and the transporting of persons engaged in sealing to and from the killing area, and includes searching for seals from helicopters and other aircraft.

(3) "Sealing Licence" means that licence which is issued in respect of hunting (fishing) for seals under the authority of the Marine Mammal Regulations.

(4) "Subsistence" means for personal use or for community use as defined in chapter 24 of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.

31. Exemptions

(1) An Indian or Inuk other than a Beneficiary may, without a licence, hunt (fish) for seals for food, social and ceremonial purpose.

(2) A Beneficiary may, without a licence, hunt (fish) for seals for subsistence purposes within the area covered by the agreement under which he is enrolled.

(3) A person other than a person referred to in subsection (1) or (2) above, residing immediately adjacent to any of Sealing Areas 1 to 4 may hunt (fish) for seals without a licence in those Sealing Areas for food, clothing and personal utilization purposes.

32. Type of Licence

(1) Professional sealing licences are those licences issued to persons who may engage in sealing on their own and who may supervise assistant sealers.

(2) Assistant sealing licences are those licences issued to persons who do not meet the eligibility criteria to receive professional sealing licences and who may not engage in sealing except under the supervision of a person who holds a professional sealing licence.

(3) Personal-use sealing licences are those licences issued to authorize the taking of up to six seals a year for personal use only.

33. Eligibility

(1) Professional sealing licences may only be issued to persons who held a professional sealing licence during the previous year.

(2) Assistant sealing licences may only be issued to persons who are not eligible to receive a professional sealing licence and who are in possession of a written confirmation from a professional sealer to the effect that the assistant sealer will be hunting (fishing) under the supervision of this professional sealer during the following sealing season.

(3) Notwithstanding section 33(1), professional sealing licences may be issued to persons who meet the following conditions:

  1. (a) Are 18 years of age or more; and
  2. (b) Have been issued assistant sealing licences and have actively participated in the seal fishery during the two preceding years.

(4) Notwithstanding sections 33(1) and 33 (3), professional sealing licences may be issued to Beneficiaries, Indians or Inuit who are recognized as commercial hunters by their community or their band. Regarding Beneficiaries, licences must be issued according to article 24.3.18 of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.

(5) Licences may specify any one or more of the following conditions:

  1. (a) the species and the stage of development of seals and quantities thereof that are permitted to be taken;
  2. (b) the waters in which sealing is permitted to be carried out;
  3. (c) the period during which sealing is permitted to be carried out;
  4. (d) the vessel that is permitted to be used;
  5. (e) the person or persons permitted to operate the specified vessel;
  6. (f) the type and quantity of sealing gear and equipment that is permitted to be used and the manner in which it is to be used;
  7. (g) the specific location at which sealing gear is permitted to be set;
  8. (h) whether seals taken are for personal use only and may not be sold, bartered or traded;
  9. (i) whether seal carcasses are to be landed; and
  10. (j) the information that shall be reported to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

(6) The holder of a sealing licence may not be authorized to use a vessel l9.8m (65') LOA or longer.

(7) Where a vessel is being used in sealing, all members of the vessel crew including the captain/operator must hold valid sealing licences and at least one member of the crew must hold a professional sealing licence.

(8) Where a vessel longer than 10.7m (35') LOA is used, the vessel must be registered and specified as a condition on the professional sealing licence of a person who is on board the vessel during the sealing operations.

(9) Personal-use sealing licences may be issued to:

  1. (a) individuals who held a personal-use sealing licence the previous year and who hold a valid provincial hunting licence for big game or a hunter's capability certificate; or
  2. (b) individuals who held or were eligible to hold a professional or assistant sealing licence the previous year and who hold a valid provincial hunting licence for big game or a hunter's capability certificate; or
  3. (c) individuals, 18 years of age or older, residing immediately adjacent to established sealing areas throughout Newfoundland, the Quebec Upper and Lower North Shore, the Gaspé Peninsula and the Magdalen Island, who hold a valid provincial hunting licence for big game or a hunter's capability certificate and have attended a mandatory information session.