Could this be the end?

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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?

Organizations: Humane Society International

Geographic location: Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • JohnnyCanuck
    April 15, 2014 - 13:10

    The "cottage industry" of self-righteous, do-gooders attacking a viable and necessary industry is sickening. It's been scientifically proven that large seal populations devour fish stocks. The yearly seal harvest helps to regulate the seal population, which today, is seen in record numbers & getting larger every year. What's the problem with those who humanely harvest these creatures and economically support their families?

    • a business man
      April 18, 2014 - 09:06

      Actually, what is sickening is that you think you have the right to critize those who oppose the seal hunt for speaking its mind. No matter what you think, regardless if you are right or wrong, everyone has a right to advocate for what ever it wants. For example, I oppose the seal hunt because I want the fishery to die. Like you said, the seal population devours the fish stocks. So from my point of view, if we allow the seals to devour the fish stocks, then the fishery will die and the people in rural newfoundland will have to move to the city. I want this to happen because it is good for me since I own rental properties and businesss in St. John's. Plain and simple. So with that, I am happy that the seal hunt is in decline, and I will be making a point to donate some money to the Animal Rights activists because they are indirectly supporting my interests.