Canadian Minister supports sealers and their communities

13 Mar 2010
Gail Shea says that the Government of Canada will stand up for its sealers. Credit:  Ansgar Walk

Gail Shea says that the Government of Canada will stand up for its sealers. Credit: Ansgar Walk

The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada has issued the following statement to highlight the Government of Canada’s long-standing support for Canadian sealers and the traditional harvest:

“Canadian sealers, processors, artisans and Inuit produce some of the finest quality products in the world. I am proud of our government’s record of supporting and defending those who depend on this important traditional industry.

“For Canada, sealing is about much more than fur. Our government is strongly encouraging industry to continue to look for new and innovative ways to make the fullest use possible of the animals harvested each year. In fact, the trade of other seal products, such as oils and meat, represents a growing share of what is already a multi-million dollar business providing an important livelihood for remote coastal and Northern communities.

“This Government is committed to supporting these endeavours in several ways. For example, we are actively working to advance and expand markets at home and abroad for Canadian fish and seafood, including all kinds of seal products. In January I visited China, the world's largest consumer of fish and seafood to promote Canadian seal products there. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans continues to work with the Canadian Food inspection Agency to have seal meat certified for human consumption in that country.

“We are also supporting ongoing research into potential use of seal heart valves in human transplants by providing a team of medical researchers with a developmental allocation of seals for research purposes for up to five years.

“Finally, we will continue to counter campaigns of misinformation that too often get spread by certain animal rights activists. We respect the right of individuals to voice their opinion; all we ask is that these opinions be based on facts. Many activist groups appeal to the emotions of Canadians while misleading them about the facts of the seal harvest. The government will continue to oppose these campaigns at home and abroad.

“While sealing income may seem small to affluent American and European lobby groups and celebrities, the reality is much different for sealers in remote, Northern and coastal communities. From coast to coast to coast, the Government of Canada will stand up for our sealers, their livelihood and future depends on our actions and leadership today. ”

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