Minister Announces Funding for Desperately Needed Seal Science
November 10, 2022
The Fish Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW-Unifor) is applauding Minister Joyce Murray’s announcement yesterday afternoon, revealing an open call for proposals from Indigenous and industry groups to undertake much-needed science work. 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.
“We are certainly pleased with Minister Murray’s funding announcement today 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, predominantly the three cod stocks and the capelin stock adjacent to Newfoundland and Labrador need to be better understood,” says FFAW-Unifor Secretary-Treasurer Jason Spingle.
FFAW-Unifor has long called for a whole ecosystem approach to species management. The current overpopulation of seals has pushed cod in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to near extinction, and natural mortality in other regions is of dire concern to fish harvesters who have not witnessed such populations of seals within the last century.
“Seal predation must be taken into consideration when developing species rebuilding plans. We cannot have a balanced ecosystem if one species is allowed to spiral out of control,” Spingle says.
“It’s imperative that our federal government do more than just commit to increased science. Because when science proves what harvesters have been saying for decades, important decisions on ecosystem management will need to be made. We’re already years behind the eight-ball, and how decisions are made in the coming months and years will have lasting effects on the marine environment,” Spingle warns.
FFAW-Unifor continues to call on the Canadian Government to stand up for the sustainable seal-hunt, and to promote the many products internationally.
“The sealing industry presents tremendous opportunity for the eastern region, but unless our government stands up for this sustainable, high-value and versatile resource, harvesters will continue to have little market for their product,” Spingle says.
Going forward, FFAW-Unifor is hopeful that the federal government will be paying closer attention to seals and impacts they have on the marine ecosystem.
“It remains to be seen whether the topic of seals will be prioritized by the federal government going forward. We are certainly hopeful after these last two days, however only time will tell whether meaningful changes will be made when it comes to seals,” Spingle concludes.
For media inquiries:
Courtney Glode, FFAW-Unifor Communications