© Photo courtesy of IFAW/S. Cook
One of two men in a smaller boat takes aim at a seal during the 2011 commercial seal hunt off Newfoundland and Labrador.
Halifax (CP) — The Fisheries Department has set the annual harp seal quota amid criticism that the allowance is too high at a time when markets for the product are drying up.
The department’s website today listed the total allowable catch for harp seals at 400,000, which is the same as last year and includes a 20,000 developmental quota.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare is condemning the decision, saying it flies in the face of proper fisheries management.
In a release, the group says scientists have warned that the harp seal population is declining while the productivity of the species also decreases.
It says international markets for seal products have dwindled after the European Union and Russia shut the door on them.
The total allowable catch for harp seals was 330,000 in 2010 and 280,000 in 2009, according to the Fisheries Department website.