The East Coast seal hunt got underway Monday, and by all accounts, it’s going to be a modest one at best. Many markets around the world have been blocked to imports of seal products and that likely means prices will be a challenge for those who take part in the dangerous cull.
The animal rights group Humane Society International is already gloating over the fact that the hunt has been getting smaller and smaller as the pressure of public opinion against the hunt mounts.
Support for the hunt by both the federal and provincial governments has remained strong, but the industry has been becoming less and less able to turn a profit and that will eventually spell doom for a hunt that is hundreds of years old.
The seal hunt off Newfoundland is one of the most regulated and humane in the world, yet it has been the target of misinformation by opponents since the 1970s.
That constant din of unfounded criticism has resulted in the loss of profit for sealers who must invest heavily in getting their boats and crews ready to head to the ice floes.
It has come to a point where it’s hardly worth the time and effort to invest in the hunt — when the prospects of selling pelts and other products are so tentative.
As with every spring, some die-hard sealers will attempt to keep the tradition alive but the outlook is getting darker as the years go by.
The sealers themselves will soon become extinct ... while the seal herds thrive by the growing millions.
Who knows what impact that will have on fish stocks and the thousands of jobs it provides?