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View Full Version : Spring seal harvest season opens today.



Steve McMahon
04-11-2017, 12:15 PM
I'm watching with interest as the seal harvest starts today. The harp seal population has exploded to over 7.4million, above what many biologists consider to be the maximum carrying capacity for the species. Conditions look pretty good so far, lots of pack ice. I wonder if we will get any celebrity visits to the ice floes this year? There are only two boats in my vicinity that participate, but from what I understand it is an important part of their fishing enterprise. A hard way to make a living.

I see the association has put together a pretty good website including a section on Myths and Realities:
http://www.sealharvest.ca/?page_id=16

Edward Pearson
04-11-2017, 03:47 PM
Just leave 'em to find a natural order.

Killing seals shames all Canadians.

As Europeans, we think your not like American's, then you do this and we think yeah, your not quite right either.

Your not thinking straight as a nation on this.

Rum_Pirate
04-11-2017, 03:55 PM
Are they flying United and drinking 'Canadian Club on the rocks' ?

Rum_Pirate
04-11-2017, 03:57 PM
https://s3.amazonaws.com/lowres.jantoo.com/animal-kingdom-seal-courage-inciting-seal_cub-bravery-11801632_low.jpg

Steve McMahon
04-11-2017, 04:00 PM
I'm involved in promoting the sealing industry via a number of avenues. There is a seasonal processing plant in our area, and a fast growing cottage industry in many outport communities. Harvesting seals is no different than cows, pigs, moose, deer, chickens, cod, or <gasp> cute little lambs.

John of Phoenix
04-11-2017, 05:55 PM
Who eats the meat?

Phillip Allen
04-11-2017, 05:59 PM
dog food I imagine

Captain Intrepid
04-11-2017, 06:02 PM
Wish I could get some out here at a reasonable price.

JimD
04-11-2017, 06:54 PM
If I had to choose between being a seal on a Newfoundland ice floe or a cow in almost any slaughterhouse on the planet, I'd be the seal. Granted, that's not much of a choice, but it helps explain why I don't eat cows.

Steve McMahon
04-11-2017, 08:07 PM
Who eats the meat?

Humans. It's not to everyone's taste, but then again neither is foie gras or veal.
There is also the oil which has many health benefits for humans, and of course the pelts which make great boots, hats, gloves, mittens, purses etc without the use of synthetic materials.

Byproducts get rendered and go into many products that are added to make some of the processed stuff for human and animal consumption actually contain some healthy stuff. Yes, this rendered stuff gets exported to the US and Europe despite their bans on pelts.

Steve McMahon
04-11-2017, 08:09 PM
Wish I could get some out here at a reasonable price.

Where you too? If your in NS I can help you out next time I cross the strait.

Steve McMahon
04-11-2017, 08:13 PM
If I had to choose between being a seal on a Newfoundland ice floe or a cow in almost any slaughterhouse on the planet, I'd be the seal. Granted, that's not much of a choice, but it helps explain why I don't eat cows.

Having done many service calls in beef plants, pork plants, and chicken plants I understand. While I still eat all of the above, we try very hard to buy local back yard operation beef pork and chicken. The pressure is eased here a bit because of the amount of moose and cod that has found it's way into our freezer.

Captain Intrepid
04-11-2017, 09:00 PM
Where you too? If your in NS I can help you out next time I cross the strait.

I'm out in the Vancouver area now. I'm not even bothering to look.

Steve McMahon
04-11-2017, 09:13 PM
I'm out in the Vancouver area now. I'm not even bothering to look.

That sucks. I will think of you when I am enjoying some flipper at my neighbors shed. :d

Bob (oh, THAT Bob)
04-11-2017, 09:33 PM
I never really thought about the application, in the back of my mind, I thought the skin was used for something fancy-schmancy, but I guess not. Skinboats.

Phillip Allen
04-11-2017, 09:38 PM
Having done many service calls in beef plants, pork plants, and chicken plants I understand. While I still eat all of the above, we try very hard to buy local back yard operation beef pork and chicken. The pressure is eased here a bit because of the amount of moose and cod that has found it's way into our freezer.

I thought cod was about gone in your area?

Shang
04-11-2017, 10:06 PM
I thought cod was about gone in your area?

Then come the seals...

Steve McMahon
04-12-2017, 09:21 PM
I thought cod was about gone in your area?

Actually, the cod has rebounded somewhat, not to the historic levels, but to a sustainable level for sure.... but the market for cod has not recovered.
It is a tricky balance. When cod dropped out, shrimp came on strong and fishermen switched to catching shrimp. As the cod recovered, the shrimp stocks plummeted, leaving fisherman without (a reasonable amount of) shrimp to catch. (cod eat shrimp) Add to this the seals that eat cod being at a saturation level it further complicates the equation.

The good news: Newfoundlanders have fought successfully for a recreational cod fishery to fill their freezers for personal use. There is also a strong movement to reintroduce commercial fishing with a focus on quality over quantity. Less fish with a higher value. The market for seal products is also developing, both domestically and to Asia.

The powers to be and the fisherman are realizing that for a fishing enterprise to be sustainable, and the stocks to be sustainable that they have to focus on quality and diversity. Not high volume single species. This applies across the resource, cod, caplin, mackerel, shrimp, crab, seals, etc...

Phillip Allen
04-12-2017, 09:51 PM
Actually, the cod has rebounded somewhat, not to the historic levels, but to a sustainable level for sure.... but the market for cod has not recovered.
It is a tricky balance. When cod dropped out, shrimp came on strong and fishermen switched to catching shrimp. As the cod recovered, the shrimp stocks plummeted, leaving fisherman without (a reasonable amount of) shrimp to catch. (cod eat shrimp) Add to this the seals that eat cod being at a saturation level it further complicates the equation.

The good news: Newfoundlanders have fought successfully for a recreational cod fishery to fill their freezers for personal use. There is also a strong movement to reintroduce commercial fishing with a focus on quality over quantity. Less fish with a higher value. The market for seal products is also developing, both domestically and to Asia.

The powers to be and the fisherman are realizing that for a fishing enterprise to be sustainable, and the stocks to be sustainable that they have to focus on quality and diversity. Not high volume single species. This applies across the resource, cod, caplin, mackerel, shrimp, crab, seals, etc...

I saw a lot of ghost towns in Labrador... Ill never forget that

Steve McMahon
04-12-2017, 10:02 PM
I saw a lot of ghost towns in Labrador... Ill never forget that

Tilt Cove, a short distance from where I live, once had a population of 3,000. (mostly mining) Current population is 3. Smallest town in Canada.

xflow7
04-13-2017, 05:48 AM
The harp seal population has exploded to over 7.4million, above what many biologists consider to be the maximum carrying capacity for the species.

I'm curious, what is believed to be the cause of this? Reduction of natural predators?

Dave

Dave Hadfield
04-13-2017, 07:43 AM
Bardot.

Steve McMahon
04-13-2017, 08:13 AM
I'm curious, what is believed to be the cause of this? Reduction of natural predators?

Dave

What Mr. Hadfield said ^

Once humans (Europeans) got into the mix with the natural world here in a big way, we have been raping and pillaging from then on. In recent decades we have been reactionary on many fronts and not looking at the whole biomass as an interconnected entity. We go from taking every last cod, to none at all. Huge seal harvest to almost none at all. We are not very good at this.

An interesting (frightening) side effect, huge seal populations coupled with dense pack ice (old ice from the arctic), coupled with the right winds, we are now seeing polar bears walking off the ice and into coastal towns where they have never been before.

Dave Hadfield
04-14-2017, 06:29 AM
Last week.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/polar-bear-shot-catalina-1.4063378

JimD
04-14-2017, 09:21 AM
... we try very hard to buy local back yard operation beef pork and chicken. .That's about the best you can do if you're going to eat them. The only animal I eat is chickens and I also make the effort to buy birds from small local operations. It costs more but I sleep better.

JimD
04-14-2017, 09:34 AM
The powers to be and the fisherman are realizing that for a fishing enterprise to be sustainable, and the stocks to be sustainable that they have to focus on quality and diversity. Not high volume single species. This applies across the resource, cod, caplin, mackerel, shrimp, crab, seals, etc...Amazing how long this rather obvious fact takes to sink into the human mind.

CundysHarbor
04-14-2017, 09:55 AM
Years ago I ran into a really poor fisherman in Nova Scotia poor as in hungry poor. He had been on a seal hunt and found it very unsettling to say the least. He stated that few men go more than once.

JimD
04-14-2017, 10:02 AM
Years ago I ran into a really poor fisherman in Nova Scotia poor as in hungry poor. He had been on a seal hunt and found it very unsettling to say the least. He stated that few men go more than once.I suspect it takes a certain kind of person to kill animals all day long for a living, by any method. I can't even stand the idea of a slaughterhouse. It's hard to imagine working in one. Not a lot of difference. Such a disconnect between how people eat and where the food comes from.

Dave Hadfield
04-14-2017, 11:05 AM
Nowadays, that's true.

But I remember visiting the farm my grandparents lived on and seeing the chicken being chosen for dinner. Then plucking it. And eating it.

And lord knows I've ripped the guts out of enough fish and then consumed them.

JimD
04-14-2017, 11:29 AM
Nowadays, that's true.

But I remember visiting the farm my grandparents lived on and seeing the chicken being chosen for dinner. Then plucking it. And eating it.

And lord knows I've ripped the guts out of enough fish and then consumed them.Yes, even I could probably do that. But that's not the same as whack whack whack all day long with breaks for coffee and lunch.

Dave Hadfield
04-14-2017, 12:15 PM
You're quite right. I can walk through a jail and remain unmoved.

But a walk through a dog pound? Not a chance... I buy, or cry, or both.

TomF
04-14-2017, 01:32 PM
Dad spent a summer working at a slaughterhouse one year in college. Only one.

Steve McMahon
04-14-2017, 02:15 PM
Dad spent a summer working at a slaughterhouse one year in college. Only one.

Yup. As I have said I have been in poultry, beef, and pork processing plants. I'm quite OK with the way seals are humanely killed. Much more humane then our farmed species. Certainly more humane than trapping.
It hasn't always been that way, but it is now.

Steve McMahon
04-14-2017, 02:16 PM
That's about the best you can do if you're going to eat them. The only animal I eat is chickens and I also make the effort to buy birds from small local operations. It costs more but I sleep better.

Yes, we pay more for local meat. The one thing we don't eat is farmed salmon.

Steve McMahon
04-14-2017, 02:19 PM
Years ago I ran into a really poor fisherman in Nova Scotia poor as in hungry poor. He had been on a seal hunt and found it very unsettling to say the least. He stated that few men go more than once.

If it was a lot of years ago I could see why it would be unsettling. Today it is extremely closely monitored, and the seals are killed in a very humane way. You can check out the facts and myths link I posted earlier if you wish.