Canada’s Sustainable Seal Harvest
Canada’s annual seal harvest is the humane collection of a natural Canadian resource performed by licensed professionals. A 2002 peer-reviewed study conducted by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) found that 98% of harp seals were harvested in a humane manner.
In 2005, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) commissioned a study on the Canadian seal harvest and concluded that the seal harvest was humane, and served as a model for other animal harvests.
It is against the law to harvest baby seals or nursing mother seals. This is rigorously enforced each and every year by the Canadian government in conjunction with the Canadian Coast Guard.
The most famous marine conservationist, Jacques Cousteau, was not opposed to Canada’s seal harvest.
Harp seals have been harvested in Canada for centuries and are not, and never have been, endangered. Independent analysis lists the total population of harp seals on Canada’s east coast at between 7,300,000 and 9,000,000. The harp seal population is four times higher than it was in the 1970s.
Some marine conservationists argue that as each harp seal eats roughly 4kg of fish per day, the large seal population is partly responsible for dwindling fish stocks.
Harp seals are full-use animals harvested for food, clothing, health products and other products.
Seal pelts are used for a variety of finished products such as clothing, leather items, kayaks and ropes. Seal oil, extracted exclusively from blubber, is used in omega-3 health products – the world’s best source of omega-3. Seal meat is available in a range of raw and prepared forms for both human and animal consumption.
Ongoing research on seal products has resulted in the discovery that seal heart valves are a viable and superior alternative to other bioprosthetic valves.