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An NDP MP from Newfoundland and Labrador is raising questions about the future viability of the seal hunt, despite criticism. In Canada, the season for the commercial hunt of seal is from Nov. 15 to May 15. However, markets are dwindling and the industry isn’t as valuable as it once was.
News and events — visually
Harp seal quotas and kills
Exports by product (’000)
123 6.2 27.4
# of pelts
275,000 280,000 330,000 217,857
400km 250 miles
Sources: DFO; IFAW; Humane Society; Graphic News; Wikipedia; maritimes.indymedia.org
Most harp seal hunting occurs in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and o the coast of Newfoundland.
62 kg 1.1 kg 20 kg 792 kg 740 kg 309 kg
Ba n Bay
Harp seal: Spends summer in Arctic, migrating south in November
The three-step process is a science-based approach developed to ensure that seals are harvested quickly and humanely.
Step 1 - Striking
The shooting or striking of the seal on the top of the cranium with either a ﬁrearm or a hakapik (or club) in order to render the animal irreversibly unconscious or dead by crushing both halves of its cranium.
Step 2 - Checking
Conﬁrming, by palpation, that both the left and right halves of the cranium are crushed, which conﬁrms irreversible unconsciousness or death of the seal.
Step 3 - Bleeding
The severing of the two axillary arteries located beneath its front ﬂippers. Proper bleeding ensures that the seal is dead. Sealers must allow a minimum of one minute to pass after bleeding the seal before beginning to skin the seal.
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The primary use of the hakapik or club is prohibited for any seal over one year of age. The hakapik or club is considered by veterinary experts to be a humane instrument for harvesting young harp seals (up to at least one year) because the top of their cranium is very thin and can be easily crushed by one or a few strikes. For harp seals over one year of age, sealers must ﬁrst shoot the seal with an approved ﬁrearm.
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SUSAN BATSFORD, GRAPHICS EDITOR, TWITTER @SBATS1; INFOGRAPHIC BY TARA CORRAN/QMI AGENCY