March 13, 2009
Clearwater has the Power to End the Seal Hunt
Company can use its influence to demand seal hunt come to an end
As one of the largest exporters of seafood from the sealing provinces, Clearwater Seafoods has the power to help convince the Canadian government to end its annual commercial seal hunt.
Clearwater states on its website that it is a “leader in the global seafood industry recognized for its consistent quality, wide diversity, the commitment to preserving the environment and leading the innovation of technologies to harvest the wealth of the ocean without disturbing its delicate ecosystem.” To remain true to this statement, Clearwater ought to use its influence to convince the Canadian government to end the seal hunt.
The seal hunt occurs on the ice floes off Canada's East Coast in two areas: the Gulf of St. Lawrence (west of Newfoundland and east of the Magdalen Islands) and the "Front" (northeast of Newfoundland).
Some fishing groups claim that seals must be culled to protect fish stocks. Many in the scientific community agree that the cause of the depletion of fish stocks off Canada's East Coast is human over-fishing.
Canada’s commercial seal hunt is the largest slaughter of marine mammals on the planet. The majority of the seals killed are under the age of 3 months. Some haven’t yet learned to swim or eaten their first solid meal.
Clearwater and all other seafood exporting companies who buy seafood from sealers or who export seafood caught by them are providing economic sustenance to the sealers. By doing so, they are sending them the message that there is nothing wrong with the seal hunt.
Sealing is an off-season activity conducted by fishermen from Canada's east coast. They make, on average, a small fraction of their annual incomes from sealing—and the rest from commercial fisheries. Even in Newfoundland, where 90 percent of sealers live, the government estimates there are less than 6,000 fishermen who actively participate in the seal hunt each year.
Yet to date, no portion of Canada’s fishing industry—not even its sustainable seafood sector nor its aquaculture sector—has come out against Canada’s commercial seal hunt.
Clearwater and other companies who buy seafood from fishermen who engage in the seal hunt could easily use their influence with these fishermen to encourage them to retire their sealing licenses in exchange for adequate compensation form the government of Canada.
Until Canada’s fishing industry stops supporting and engaging the commercial seal hunt, we will continue to advocate for a boycott of Canadian seafood.