THE CAPE FUR SEAL STOCK OF NAMIBIA

WHY ARE SEALS HARVESTED IN NAMIBIA?
According to Chapter 11 of the Namibian Constitution which deals with Principles of State Policy. Provisions relating to natural resources are contained in Article 95, entitled ‘Promotion of the Welfare of the People’. The article provides that: The State shall actively promote and maintain the welfare of the people by adopting, inter alia, policies aimed at the following:…

“ (l) maintenance of ecosystems, essential ecological processes and biological diversity of Namibia and utilization of living natural resources on a sustainable basis for the benefit of all Namibians, both present and future...”

WHY ARE SEALS HARVESTED ?
The Government’s main objective for the fisheries sector is to utilize the country’s Marine resources on a sustainable basis and to develop industries based on them in a way that ensures their lasting contribution to the country’s economy and overall development objectives. Seals are considered as a natural resource from which Namibians can derive economic benefits – consumptive and non-consumptive. The Namibian Government’s approach to seal harvesting is guided by the same principles which are applied to the utilization of any other natural resource falling within its jurisdiction, namely: - SUSTAINABLE UTILIZATION.

WHY ARE SEALS HARVESTED?
The MARINE RESOURCES ACT no. 27 of 2000, which has been passed by the Parliament and signed by the President in terms of the Namibian Constitution is published in terms of Article 56 of that Constitution. The purpose of the act is: “To provide for the conservation of the marine ecosystem and the responsible utilization, conservation, protection and promotion of marine resources on a sustainable basis; for that purpose to provide for the exercise of control over marine resources; and to provide for matters connected therewith.”

Is the Cape fur seal listed as an Endangered species? Are the Cape fur seal endangered with extinction?

•The conservation status of the Cape fur seal as a species is of LEAST CONCERN, after applying the IUCN criteria and the most recent population data available. •The revision was done as part of the top predator project of the BCLME (LMR/EAF/03/02) and will appear in the final report.

CITES STATUS FACTS:
• Namibia is a party member of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). • Species are grouped in the Appendices according to how threatened they are by international trade. • Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction. CITES prohibits international trade in specimens of these species except when the purpose of the import is not commercial for instance for scientific research. Trade in specimens of these species is therefore permitted only in exceptional circumstances.

CITES STATUS FACTS:
• Arctocephalus spp. is listed in Appendix II of CITES. • Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival. • Many wildlife species in trade are not endangered, but the existence of an agreement to ensure the sustainability of the trade is important in order to safeguard these resources for the future.

How many breeding colonies are currently in Namibia?
• 25 Breeding Colonies identified during the December 2005 aerial census in Namibia, 11 situated on islands
L a titu d e ( ° E )
C a p e F r io M owe Bay

20

T o rra B a y T o s c a n in i C a p e C ro s s P e lic a n P o in t S a n d w ic h h a r b o u r C o n c e p t io n B a y H o lla m s b ir d I s la n d S y lv ia H ill D o lp h in H e a d K le in I c h a b o e , S t a p le R o c k , M a r s h a ll R e e f , B o a t B a y R o c k , D u m f u d g e o n R e e f A t la s B a y , W o lf B a y L o n g I s la n d , P o s s e s s io n I s la n d A lb a t r o s s R o c k , V a n R e e n e n B a y , B la c k R o c k , S in c la ir I s la n d , L io n s H e a d

Breeding colonies: Möwe Bay, Possession Island, Toscanini, Torra Bay, Pelican Point and Sylvia Hill developed in recent years Breeding colonies also starting to expand into Angola e.g. Baia dos Tigres

25

30

10

15

20 L o n g it u d e ( ° S )

25

How many Islands are inhabited by seals?
Co-hort: Colony: Cape Frio Cape Cross Pelican Point Sandwich Harbour Conception Bay Hollamsbird Island Mercury Island Dolphin Head Klein Ichaboe Marshall Reef Staple Rock Boat Bay Rock Dumfudgeon Rock Wolf Bay Atlas Bay Long Islands Albatross Rock Black Rock Van Reenen Bay Sinclair Island Lions Head Sylvia Hill Mowe Bay Toscanini Possession Island
(North Reef)

1972   0 17839       5042 0     755 2910 1691 2875 7443 8879 12228 3722   3243 15772 2769          

1977     2209 7       2772 0     378 2114 978 779 1501 7 2375 9 9840 2393 205 3208 1087 9 3248          

1983   1 26623   0   1945           1167 883 26669 61438 13223 5254 216 4953 9419 1614          

1986   3 35590 0 672 0 0   3606   398 2212 1618 1623 10616 16860 12812   202 4820 8011 1817          

1989     55247 0 4 5216 3114     6 666 2325 2066 2003 24548 42223 22160 4354 439 5590 11139 3437          

1993   477 61891 3 292 231 4902 35 2500 68 942 1405 1240 1667 39534 62823 20170 1715 200 5293 8703 6121          

1995   3044 29990 24 502 1576 961 0 0 63         9642 17031 8809 2031 252 3011 6992 4501          

1996   4337 35498 12 756 693 2026 0 141 157         9158 13581 7751 1152 210 3317 7967 4623          

1997   4419 38564 0 26 0 1827 0 158 89 242 1542 693       12098 2451 100 3989 7186 5529          

1998   7191 48993 0 33 52 3478 0 0 128 146 1899 883 465 36700 46225 14835 2785 206 5783 10771 8308          

2002   10880 37394       2285 0 0   106 1462 669 1099 15184 18193 7822 1335 84 2953 7472 6163          

2006   21109 65073 1682 1195 114 4330 0 1385 60 0 1430 780 742 19993 36396 12702 1898 310 2854 9072 5507 2723 26 514 10055 5550

Torra Bay

Why are there no seals on some Islands? HISTORY OF THE ISLANDS:
•Of the ~20 islands and rocks of Namibia, some had seals and seabird colonies originally, others mainly seals or seabirds •Indiscriminate sealing started in the 17th century mainly with British and American sealers and whalers •The seal population was already reduced drastically by 1840 •Guano exploitation started in 1843 and by 1847 most guano deposits had been removed (seabird breeding habitat altered) •Guano and sealing concessions were given to private companies and exploitation continued until late 19th century when after 1895 the sealing and guano operations as well as the management of the islands was

Why are there no seals on some Islands? HISTORY OF THE ISLANDS:
•Of the ~20 islands and rocks of Namibia, some had seals and seabird colonies originally, others mainly seals or seabirds •Indiscriminate sealing started in the 17th century mainly with British and American sealers and whalers •The seal population was already reduced drastically by 1840 •Guano exploitation started in 1843 and by 1847 most guano deposits had been removed (seabird breeding habitat altered) •Guano and sealing concessions were given to private companies and exploitation continued until late 19th century when after 1895 the sealing and guano operations as well as the management of the islands was

HISTORY OF THE ISLANDS cont:
At the beginning of the 20th century: •sealing and guano collection were controlled by the government •the seal population was at very low level •the seabird breeding habitat had been modified through guano removal •seals still shared some islands with seabirds but started to impact the birds and management actions were taken to minimize this impact and protect both resources •As hunter-gatherer human populations along the coast disappeared, seals were able to form mainland colonies in the south •Sealing continued on the islands until the mid-80s, but by then the bulk of sealing occurred on mainland colonies

HISTORY OF THE ISLANDS cont:
Currently: •3 seal mainland colonies are sealing concessions (Wolf, Atlas and Cape Cross), and tourism takes place at several (Cape Frio, Cape Cross, Pelican Point) and will resume in the Sperrgebiet National Park) •Sealing no longer takes place on the islands •One guano concession is still active on the islands (mainly Ichaboe) •The islands where significant seabird populations occur are managed by MFMR for the conservation of seabirds (necessary due to decreasing populations and endangered status of African Penguin, Cape Gannet and Bank cormorant)

Example: penguin population trends

Since the mid 1950s the Population decreased by 80%+ and the trend is continuing: 9000
8000 7000 6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1989

1991

1993

1995

1997

1999

2001

2003

2005

2007

Penguin population trends

Penguin population trends

WHY AREN’T FEMALES HARVESTED?

REPRODUCTION & LIFE HISTORY •Seals are longlived attaining 20 - 30 years
•Average female age at first parturition = 4 years • Females give birth to a single pup between November and December •Females ovulate and mate within 10 days after giving birth •Embryo implantation is delayed and development starts after 4 months •Effective gestation lasts for eight months •Lactation starts immediately after birth of the pup and continues until weaning in September/October

REPRODUCTION & LIFE HISTORY
DEC

Pupping & Mating
JAN
FE B

OC

Harvestin g period from July – 15 Nov

NO

V

Delayed embryo implantatio n
MAR

T

Weaning period = Sep/Oct

M
JUL
JUN

AY

APR
G AU

SEP

Gestation period = 8 months

ARE NAMIBIAN SCIENTISTS WORKING IN ISOLATION?

Scientific collaboration:
• BCLME (Top predator project) • BENEFIT • Standardised/ joint regional aerial surveys, workshops etc with MCM

Scientific collaboration
• EAF (Environmental Risk Assessment and cost benefit analysis for inclusion in the management plans) • Norway (Advisors) • Attendance of international workshops, seminars and congress meetings

Is sealing regulated and monitored in Namibia?

Sealing methods are currently controlled through regulations stipulated under section 61(1) of the Marine Resources Act 27 of 2000, that:
• 1) Seals must be harvested in the presence of at least one fisheries inspector. • (2) A holder of a right relating to the harvest of seals must identify a group of pups to be harvested, which must be driven away from the sea and allowed to settle down before clubbing begins, care being taken to facilitate the escape of adult seals.

Are sealers permitted to club indiscriminately? Regulation 20 of the Marine Resources Act 27 of 2000 states that:
(3) After the identified pups have settled down, harvesting to proceed as follows: (c) a group of pups must be released from the group referred to in subregulation (2) in the direction of the sea; (b) a clubber must kill a pup by clubbing it on the top of the head with a sealing club, when a group released in terms of paragraph (a) moves past the clubbers; (c) the inspector overseeing the harvest must be satisfied that a pup, which has been clubbed, is dead; (d) a sticker must pierce the heart of the pup with a knife,

Are sealers permitted to club bulls? Regulation 20 of the Marine Resources Act 27 of 2000 states that: (4) Adult seals selected for harvesting must – (a) be killed on land by shooting the seal with a rifle in the head so that the bullet immediately kills the seal; (b) the inspector overseeing the harvest must be satisfied that a seal, which has been shot, is dead.

Employment in seal industry
• The total employment in the seal
industry is 150 people • Industry revenue is N$ 5 million • The Namibian unemployment rate is 36% • Seal industry has helped a few Namibians who would have been part of that statistic to get an income and support their extended families

Investment

N$ 4.5 million Includes Seal processing factory, craft centre and workshop Seal skins and oil (exported and sold locally), seal carcass meal (sold locally) and seal penises (export and206 000. Calculated N$ sold locally) on current TAC

Type of Products

Revenue to Government

Has eco-tourism developed in Namibia? TOURISM AT CAPE CROSS: - Visitors consist of local and foreign people
Year
Number of visitors

Gross direct income

2003 2004 2005 2006
2007 -July

70 427 62 998 57 597 53 113 25 949

1 708 322 1 504 695 1 904 012 2 071 485 984 878