SYDNEY, N.S. — An anti-sealing organization says the cancellation of the annual hunt on Hay Island off Cape Breton is another sign the commercial industry is dying.
Bridget Curran, director of the Atlantic Canadian Anti-Sealing Coalition, says international markets for seal products are shrinking.
Curran says she’s delighted by news that a group of seal hunters in Cape Breton have decided against venturing out this year.
Robert Courtney, a spokesman for the hunters, said the sealers thought they had a buyer for a couple hundred grey seals but it fell through.
“We had to call everything off, so it doesn’t look good,” he said. “I don’t think there will be anything going.”
Courtney said the sealers couldn’t complete the necessary regulatory arrangements and paperwork with Fishery and Oceans Canada within the small window of opportunity that became available with the buyer/processor.
Fisheries and Oceans hasn’t specified a 2013 quota of grey seals on Hay Island, a rocky outcropping that is part of the Scatarie Island wilderness protected area off the shore near Main-a-Dieu, but in recent years it has been 1,900 animals.
The Cape Breton sealers did not go to Hay Island last year, either.
Governments around the world have been closing their borders to seal products, including most recently the legislative yuan of Taiwan, which when it banned all marine mammal products in January had become the third-largest Asian consumer and the fourth in the world in terms of the consumption of marine mammals and their products.
Seal products have also been banned in the Russian Federation, European Union and United States.