Many national and international conservation organizations have expressed their support of seal harvesting in Canada.
Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Why Canada supports the seal harvest:
The Canadian government believes in the sustainable use of a renewable resource such as the harp seal. As with all Canadian fisheries, Fisheries and Oceans Canada supports and regulates the seal harvest and is committed to ensuring it is sustainable and conducted safely and humanely. The Canadian seal harvest is one of the world’s most highly regulated and monitored harvests of wild animals. It is an important economic and cultural activity in communities in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and the Arctic.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the largest and most respected conservation organization in the world (bringing together 82 states, 111 government agencies, more than 800 non-governmental organizations, and over 10,000 scientists) supports the sustainable use of seals and other wildlife, as long as this is from abundant populations.
“The Congress also urges IUCN members to put their sustainable use principles into action by not introducing new legislation that bans the importation and commercialization of seal products from abundant seal populations.” (Resolution passed at the third IUCN World Conservation Congress, November 2004.)
The World Wildlife Fund (Canada) released a position paper on sealing in 2012. It clearly recognized the cultural and economic importance of the hunt and stated that, as long as the hunt was monitored and managed carefully, it would support it:
“… the harp seal population is at a near record high with an estimated eight million individuals. Current harvest levels pose no threat to the long-term health of the species at this time. While there are no conservation grounds on which to end the seal hunt at present, we continue to monitor the impacts of harvest and changing environmental conditions on an annual basis.”
Canadian Wildlife Federation
“Conservation is not an issue with the east-coast seal fishery. The Federal Government should be congratulated on their management policies in relation to the harp seals.”
In the 1970s, the renowned conservationist summed up his reasons for standing in favour of the seal hunt this way:
“We have to be logical. We have to aim our activity first to the endangered species. Those who are moved by the plight of the harp seal could also be moved by the plight of the pig—the way they are slaughtered is horrible.”