Heavy ice, blocked markets blamed as Newfoundland seal landings drop

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The Canadian Sealers Association blames heavy sea ice and trade issues for a big drop in the commercial hunt off Newfoundland this spring.

Executive director Frank Pinhorn says just fewer than 55,000 harp seals were landed compared to 91,000 last year and 69,000 in 2012.

Pinhorn says about 65 boats went out compared to 45 the year before but many had trouble getting through unusually thick sea ice.

He says the number of seals landed was far below the federal quota of 400,000 while the price held steady at about $35 for the best pelts.

The association is calling on Ottawa to more aggressively deal with seal product bans that block access to markets in several countries.

The federal government has challenged a European Union ban at the World Trade Organization but lost again on appeal last month.

Organizations: Canadian Sealers Association, European Union, World Trade Organization

Geographic location: Newfoundland, ST. JOHN'S, Ottawa

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