complain to committee
BRIAN MEDEL Yarmouth Bureau
SHELBURNE Nova Scotias core group of licensed seal
hunters want to work but are seldom allowed, the Commons standing
committee of fisheries and oceans was told here Thursday.
117 of us," said Robert Courtney, a Cape Breton fisherman
from the Cape North area.
aint supposed to be here today. Im supposed to be
in court in Sydney . . . for trying to harvest seals,"
Mr. Courtney told MPs who took their committee meeting on a
road trip to hear about grey seals.
got the manpower to do it, (but) we aint allowed where
the seals are," he said.
seals congregate on a few select islands, most of which are
protected sanctuaries, he said.
Courtney and some other sealers took 600 greys off an island
recently, he said, noting thats why he was supposed to
be in court.
job of this committee will be to study this issue and make some
recommendations," said chairman and South Shore MP Gerald
fishing industry sources addressed the committee and said a
grey seal cull is needed now.
have to get over our fear that some tourists will say, We
cant go to Nova Scotia because they kill seals,
" said Glenn Wadman, operations manager at D.B. Kenney
Fisheries Ltd. on Brier Island.
same tourists will say we cant eat Nova Scotia fish because
they have worms," he said.
years ago, he said, most fish plant workers found only one or
two wormy fish per shift. Now, he said, fish are heavily infested.
The worms come from seal feces, research has shown.
quality of finished product suffers because fillets are sometimes
only fit to be packaged as fish bits after the worms are picked
out of them, said Mr. Wadman.
scientist Mike Hammill said researchers sample seal feces and
analyze stomach contents and also look at fatty acids in seal
tissue to determine what the grey seals are eating.
determined that seals dont always eat a lot of cod. Quite
often, he said, the seals eat species that arent as commercially
important, such sand lance and redfish.
the amount of cod making up a grey seals diet can jump
to a high of 40 per cent or a low of 10 per cent, depending
on the location and time of year, he said.
grey seal population is now estimated to be 260,000-strong in
Atlantic Canada, up from 20,000 in the 1970s.
Island and the Scotian Shelf are where most of the seal congregate,
said Mr. Hammill.
years grey seal harvesting quota is 2,100 in the Gulf
of St. Lawrence and 8,300 on the Scotian Shelf, although only
1,800 have been taken so far, he said.
winter we intend to carry out another survey," said Mr.
MacKenzie of the Grey Seal Conservation
Society was the only presenter who wanted to save the seals.
have realized that fishing itself has altered the ocean
ecosystem and removal
of large predatory animals like grey seals will alter it
more, she argued.
why Canada should stop commercial seal hunting, she said.