The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has announced that despite the slaughter of more than one million harp seals over the last three years, the harp seal population continues to grow.
Biologists employed by the DFO have announced that the population is now 5.9 million seals, up from 5.5 million in 2000.
"The current harvest [slaughter] doesn't appear to be having a hugely detrimental effect on the population," said Gary Stenson of the federal Fisheries and Oceans Department.
Canada intends to continue to promote large-scale killing of seals until the population falls to 3.85 million.
Canadian officials did not explain how they arrived at the population figures. Harp seal expert, Dr. David Lavigne said, "They have killed far more animals than they thought the population could sustain and we've had environmental problems on top of that ... [so] why is the number so high?"
"It underscores a point we've made on numerous occasions - there is a considerable amount of uncertainty in estimates of populations," Lavigne told Reuters.
Commenting on Newfoundland's VOCM Radio on May 25th, Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Captain Paul Watson said, "I place no stock in the DFO's population figures. These are the same people who said that cod fish populations were healthy up to the day the cod fishery collapsed. These scientists are hired whores; they are not biologists but biostitutes."
Captain Watson said that the method used to determine seal populations is "eyeball estimates" primarily from sealers.
"I was out there for two months this year," said Captain Watson. "And I can tell you that there are not six million seals out there. John Efford was saying there were six million seals five years ago and this seems to be the official number every year. I find it interesting that Efford uses the number six million at the same time he states that we need a final solution to the seal problem."
In fact, on May 4, 1998, John Efford (then minister of DFO) stated before the House of Assembly proceedings: "...But, Mr. Speaker, I would like to see the 6 million seals, or whatever number is out there, killed and sold, or destroyed or burned. I do not care what happens to them...What they [sealers] wanted was to have the right to go out and kill the seals. They have that right, and the more they kill the better I will love it.
In 2003, the DFO predicted a population of 4.7 million and now it is up to 5.9 million despite the fact that over a million seals have been slaughtered and ice conditions and storms have taken the lives of tens of thousands of additional seals.
"Where are these figures coming from?" Said Captain Watson. "I'll tell you where they are coming from. These estimates are arrived at politically and rubber stamped by the paid whores of science on the payroll of the DFO."
Captain Watson also told the people of Newfoundland and Labrador courtesy of VOCM radio that more seals were needed and not less. "There was no shortage of cod before the arrival of Europeans and tens of millions of seals were here. Why? Because the seals and the cod are part of a complex ecological system whereby the seals limited the species that prey upon young cod. Lower seal populations and you increase the population of fish predators that prey upon cod. Additionally, we must not forget that it was the factory drag trawlers that annually decimated the cod populations and drove the fishery to commercial extinction."
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is promoting a worldwide boycott of Canadian seafood products in an effort to bring economic pressure to bear on the Canadian fishing industry and the Canadian government to end the bloody slaughter of seals.
Canada intends to announce a new kill quota for 2006 before the end of the year. The groundwork is being laid now to make that quota even larger than the average of 350,000 killed each year over the last three years.
"I will not be surprised to see the quota set between 400,000 and a half a million seals a year," remarked Captain Watson. "Canada wants these seals wasted, they want them gone and obliterated. This is a policy of specicide. It has nothing to do with wildlife management and everything to do with eliminating the seal from the marine eco-system for the simple reason that ignorant fishermen believe they are a threat to the cod. These fishermen vote and the seals do not."