First Nations fur traders have met with Chinese Consul General Tong Xiaoling to establish an export market for products made from West Coast seals and sea lions.
“Tom Sewid of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation and Haida hereditary Chief Roy Jones Jr. were brought in by their business partner, Calvin Kania of Fur Canada, for “bilateral trade discussions” with Tong and Chinese trade commissioner Shanjun Yu late last month, according to Kania.
Sewid and Jones’s new firm, Pacific Balance Marine Management Corp., is applying to Fisheries and Oceans Canada to set up a commercial seal hunt in B.C. as a way to reduce the impact of marine mammals on troubled salmon runs.
Seals and southern resident killer whales both have a dietary preference for chinook salmon, which could open the door to a hunt or cull.
Canada’s species-at-risk plan calls for an assessment of “prey competition” between orcas and other predators that consume chinook salmon and allows for “management actions in support of prey availability.”
“This year has been a financial disaster for us with cancelled commercial salmon fisheries and the pressure is on to cancel next year’s herring fishery in the Salish Sea,” said Sewid. “We have to do something.””