Licence buyout not popular idea: sealing official

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Barb Sweet
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Fishery

There's no widespread support for a licence buyout in the sealing industry, the head of the North East Coast Sealers Co-operative says in response to a recent poll.

"There's no support for that for sealers," said Mark Small, who predicts the industry will start to turn around next year.

Longtime sealer Mark Small of the North East Coast Sealers Co-operative says the sealing industry will turn around. He says sealers will not support a licence buyback program for their industry. - Telegram file photo

There's no widespread support for a licence buyout in the sealing industry, the head of the North East Coast Sealers Co-operative says in response to a recent poll.

"There's no support for that for sealers," said Mark Small, who predicts the industry will start to turn around next year.

In a poll commissioned by anti-sealing group Humane Society International/Canada, Ipsos Reid found sealing licence holders with an opinion on the subject were divided down the middle in terms of a suggested federal buyout of the commercial sealing industry.

Such a buyout, which would "involve fishermen and vessel owners being compensated for their sealing licences, and money being invested in economic alternatives for affected communities," polled half in favour and half opposed.

In a news release about the poll, the Humane Society suggested there was "broad support" for a buyout.

But Small said the sealing industry will get back to normal next year and sealers in "no way, shape or form" are in favour of shutting down the industry.

"There is none, not in New-foundland and Labrador, Quebec or the Magdalen Islands," he said of broad support for a buyout.

"The majority want to continue on with the harvest."

He said new markets are being explored.

"We think in another year or so, our industry is going to be back to normal with a lot more of the animal being used," Small said.

He said the hunt is at a low ebb now because of the overall downturn in fish markets.

The Ipsos Reid poll found not only is there worry among sealers about the sealing industry, but about the fishing and seafood export industry overall.

Eighty-three per cent of those polled who expressed an opinion believe the industry has "declined" - 50.3 per cent significantly and 32.4 per cent moderately - over the past five years, while just six per cent believe it has improved moderately.

Twelve per cent believe the state of the province's fishing and seafood export industry has remained the same over the last five years.

According to Ipsos Reid, low prices and a European Union ban on seal products saw half of those with an opinion suggesting the landed value of the seal hunt is likely to decline (38 per cent significantly and 11 per cent a little) in the years ahead, while another 18 per cent see no improvement and believe things will remain the same as they are today.

A majority (79 per cent) of respondents describe themselves as being aware of the U.S. boycott of Canadian seafood products launched by the Humane Society of the United States in 2005, and 56 per cent of those respondents with an opinion believe they have personally felt the impact of the boycott, either through lost business or lower prices for their products.

Some 81 per cent of licensed sealers with an opinion on the subject are concerned (48 per cent highly, 20 per cent somewhat and 13 per cent a little) about the impact of the boycott and 79 per cent believe it will hurt (29 per cent significantly, 32 per cent somewhat and 18 per cent a little) Newfoundland's fishing and seafood industry in the future.

The telephone poll was conducted from Dec. 7 to Jan. 24 with a break over the holiday period. For the survey, 181 vessel owners and individual fishermen with sealing licences living in the province were randomly sampled.

The results are considered accurate to within plus or minus 7.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

bsweet@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Ipsos Reid, Humane Society of the United States, North East Coast Sealers Co European Union

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Canada, Quebec Magdalen Islands U.S.

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Comments

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Recent comments

  • Mark from Newfoundland
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Good points, Audacity. I cannot recall too many Newfoundlanders for whom seal was a regualr part of their diets (i.e., by regular , I mean at least once a week). But like you say, there is definitely a need for more natural food sources.

  • Bear
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    I think Mr Small is living in a fools paradise if he thinks the sealing industry will bounce back. World opinion is against it and it's just as well to pack it in and carry on.

  • Audacity
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Hey commenter Mark:

    I will still be eating seal 50 years from now.

    I generally don't care what you or anyone else are eating, but I generally like to eat the free-est range food of all, wild, happy, natural living, not inhumanely imprisoned in a confining, constrictive area in squalor and waste material and pumped full of steroids and quick growth hormones and worst of all, antibiotics that are breeding drug resistant bacteria that are killing humans.

    That frankenfood is not only suffering, but the kind of things allowed into the food supply would never be allowed to come into contact with humans directly, let alone injected or swallowed without there being the largest class action lawsuit in history.

    Wouldn't you rather know where your food comes from?

    In the future, perhaps people will laud this as one of the few places where people remembered how to live sustainably, not as you say, with disdain.

    Come to think of it, I don't care either way what the world thinks of us!

    Food for thought
    AC

  • cookie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    i agree don;t sell out wait ...i think it will come back once u sell out there no getting it back . the market will pick up somewhere for sure hang in there

  • It is not a FISH
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    When do we start the human cull? Too many people for such a small planet. Maybe we should let the seals have a good feed on us for a change. Save the fish and save the planet in one shot. Just think of how favourable Newfoundlanders would look then in the eyes of the world. br br These people cry when they can not sell, then they will cry even more with the licences not being worth the paper they are printed on soon. Just can not win with these fools I tell ya.

  • Mark from Newfoundland
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    I agree with Bear. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians should not hold on to this out-dated industry. Overall, it generates very little revenue and just think about what it is doing to harm the province's reputation abroad and other industries like tourism. br br I know that we Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can be a little stubborn about the sealing industry (its a part of our history, culture, et cetera). But let's not have people 50 years from now looking back on our time and saying, Wow, what were they thinking?

  • Dwayne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    So how do we deal with them? There are 6.9 million now and growing.... Stop killing them now and we accomplish nothing becasue we will have to cull them anyway somewhere down the road.....just like Kangaroos in Australia, they can't be left unchecked forever....

  • Mark from Newfoundland
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    Good points, Audacity. I cannot recall too many Newfoundlanders for whom seal was a regualr part of their diets (i.e., by regular , I mean at least once a week). But like you say, there is definitely a need for more natural food sources.

  • Bear
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    I think Mr Small is living in a fools paradise if he thinks the sealing industry will bounce back. World opinion is against it and it's just as well to pack it in and carry on.

  • Audacity
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    Hey commenter Mark:

    I will still be eating seal 50 years from now.

    I generally don't care what you or anyone else are eating, but I generally like to eat the free-est range food of all, wild, happy, natural living, not inhumanely imprisoned in a confining, constrictive area in squalor and waste material and pumped full of steroids and quick growth hormones and worst of all, antibiotics that are breeding drug resistant bacteria that are killing humans.

    That frankenfood is not only suffering, but the kind of things allowed into the food supply would never be allowed to come into contact with humans directly, let alone injected or swallowed without there being the largest class action lawsuit in history.

    Wouldn't you rather know where your food comes from?

    In the future, perhaps people will laud this as one of the few places where people remembered how to live sustainably, not as you say, with disdain.

    Come to think of it, I don't care either way what the world thinks of us!

    Food for thought
    AC

  • cookie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    i agree don;t sell out wait ...i think it will come back once u sell out there no getting it back . the market will pick up somewhere for sure hang in there

  • It is not a FISH
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    When do we start the human cull? Too many people for such a small planet. Maybe we should let the seals have a good feed on us for a change. Save the fish and save the planet in one shot. Just think of how favourable Newfoundlanders would look then in the eyes of the world. br br These people cry when they can not sell, then they will cry even more with the licences not being worth the paper they are printed on soon. Just can not win with these fools I tell ya.

  • Mark from Newfoundland
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    I agree with Bear. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians should not hold on to this out-dated industry. Overall, it generates very little revenue and just think about what it is doing to harm the province's reputation abroad and other industries like tourism. br br I know that we Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can be a little stubborn about the sealing industry (its a part of our history, culture, et cetera). But let's not have people 50 years from now looking back on our time and saying, Wow, what were they thinking?

  • Dwayne
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    So how do we deal with them? There are 6.9 million now and growing.... Stop killing them now and we accomplish nothing becasue we will have to cull them anyway somewhere down the road.....just like Kangaroos in Australia, they can't be left unchecked forever....