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Seal hunt reopening but only for a few vessels

Harp seal
Harp seal

The seal hunt will reopen in Newfoundland and Labrador tomorrow morning, but not for all harvesters and fleets as the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters (FISH-NL) thought last week.

Only a small number of vessels are being issued licenses to hunt adult seals for PhocaLux International Inc., a Fleur de Lys-based sealing operation.

The limited harvest will be open until April 7.

FISH-NL is calling the decision by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) a disappointment.

“It’s acknowledged by all quarters that an unchecked seal population is having an impact on delicate stocks such as shrimp, crab and cod, so why is DFO putting any restrictions at all on reopening the hunt?” FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary asked in a news release this afternoon.

“If licensed sealers want to hunt seal, let them hunt seal.”

FISH-NL called on DFO to reopen the harp and hood seal hunt to all harvesters and all fleets in the province by March 25th early last week.

The hunt was closed on March 15th to allow time for seal whelping and nursing.

The group was apparently under the impression a decision had been made to reopen the seal hunt to everyone on March 28 and issued a news release Friday applauding the move.

The federal government, however, clarified details of the reopening today.

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