Greens Call for Sealing Industry Buyout as Sealers Demand More Subsidies to Stockpile Pelts

The Green Party of Canada is calling on the Federal Government to study the feasibility of a one-time sealing industry buyout as markets for seal products have collapsed and climate change continues to devastate the sea-ice harp seals depend on to survive.

Sealers have been meeting with federal and provincial governments demanding millions of dollars in taxpayer funded subsidies to keep the dying sealing industry alive in the hopes a growing stockpile of seal skins could be sold off in the future if the industry were ever to find new markets for seal fur products.

“Reports of a stockpile of harp seal skins in an excess of hundreds of thousands calls into question the subsidies taxpayers spend each and every year keeping the sealing industry afloat,” said Ms. May. “Many rural communities in Newfoundland don’t have access to high-speed internet, and yet the Provincial Government is once again considering pouring large subsidies into this industry. Investments in marine ecotourism and training and education would be money much more wisely spent.”

“The sealing industry has essentially collapsed, and many sealers will again be left out in the melting ice this year,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada. “The Government should be engaging in a constructive dialogue with sealers and their communities to examine the potential for buying out sealing licenses and investing in economic alternatives for these hard hit communities.”

Recently, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Belarus introduced bans on the trade of harp seal fur and Canada’s two largest trading partners, the United States and the 27-nation European Union, ended their trade in seal products a number of years ago. Prime Minister Harper has yet to even mention the Government’s long touted deal with the Chinese Government to import seal meat since his return from China this past month.

Meanwhile, Environment Canada is predicting another year of bad ice conditions in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and off the coast of Newfoundland, which could spell another disastrous year for harp seals.