Skip to content

FFAW-Unifor Recognizes National Seal Products Day

May 16, 2023

FFAW-Unifor is recognizing today as National Seal Products Day and honouring the historical, social, cultural, and economic contributions that seals represent for our communities. It is also a day to reaffirm that increasing understanding of seal populations and behaviour is an essential starting point for marine ecosystem balance, and the economic growth that is possible with seal product development.

Since the launch of the FFAW’s campaign, “Sealing Our Fate – An Ocean of Hypocrisy”, in February 2022, positive actions were undertaken by federal government last year, notably the release of the Atlantic Seal Science Task Team (ASSTT) report and the Seal Summit hosted in St. John’s by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in November. In closing of the Summit, Minister Joyce Murray announced an open call for proposals from Indigenous and industry groups to undertake much-needed science work to better assess and understand seal stocks. The FFAW submitted a proposal to document fish harvesters’ observations of seal distribution, abundance, and seasonality, which was accepted and funded.

This project has two focus areas: the south coast (3Ps and southern 3L) and southern Labrador and the northeast coast (2J &3K). The project would complement similar work being done in 4R and 3Pn. The objective is to systematically document Fish harvesters’ observations of seal distribution, including their observations of seal behaviour such as changes in the timing and locations of pupping.  Additionally, FFAW staff will conduct fishers’ knowledge interviews with fish harvesters to describe long-term changes in seal abundance, distribution, and seasonality.

The Union has been calling for an improved understanding of seal stocks in the maritime region for the last several years and remains gravely concerned regarding the impact seal predation is having on recovering fish stocks. FFAW is pleased for the opportunity to better assess and understand seal stocks and the impacts overpopulation is having on the ecosystem, in particular the ramifications natural mortality from seals is having on important fish stocks such as northern cod and capelin.

Moving forward, once empirical data from this project is collected, it is imperative that our federal government exercise important decisions on ecosystem management, stand up for the sustainable seal-harvest, and pursue international and domestic markets that seal products can innovate such as seal oil, iron supplements, pet products, textiles, and nutrient rich protein.

The sealing industry presents tremendous opportunity for the eastern region. Celebrate National Seal Product Day by supporting high quality seal product retailers locally and across Canada:

NaturaL Boutique

Always In Vogue

Carino Processing Ltd.

Taylor’s Fish, Fruit & Vegetable Market

Bidgood’s Freshmart

Waspu Seal Oil

Canadian Seal Products