Sea Shepherd Demands that DFO be Responsible
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is demanding that Canadian Fisheries and Oceans Minister Loyola Hearn take a responsible position on the Gulf of St. Lawrence harp seal hunt for 2007.
"If Canada goes ahead with the seal hunt this spring, it will be a gross and willful crime against nature, science, and the Canadian people," said Sea Shepherd's Founder and President Captain Paul Watson. "Loyola Hearn must decide if he is Canada's Minister of Fisheries and Oceans or Newfoundland's Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. So far, he has been speaking only for Newfoundlanders, not Canadians." [As an elected Member of Parliament the constituents Hearn represents are from Newfoundland.]
The ice conditions in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are the worst in recorded Canadian history. There is very little ice and that means that many seal pups have been born and lost in the water or survived only a few days on rotting ice pans. To go in and slaughter the survivors from this tragedy is simply irresponsible.
This is very much a conservation issue and the Minister has been ignoring science and the interests of conservation of the harp seal species in order to appease a small handful of Newfoundland sealers.
"If the Minister goes ahead and allocates a quota, he will be known to future generations as the 'Butcher from Newfoundland who destroyed the seals,'" said Captain Watson.
The very fact that the Minister has not announced a quota for the harp seals is testament to the fact that the Minister and DFO have no idea what they are doing with regard to the seals.
"It appears that the Minister is between a rock and a hard place," said Captain Watson. "He wants to kill seals but there are few seals to kill and he has no idea what the numbers are. This is not a responsible position - it is reflective of a government ministry that is incompetent and has no business managing resources."