Thanks to Rob Cahill, Executive Director, Fur Institute of Canada for the following Press Release:
Members of the Fur Institute of Canada and its Seals and Sealing Network applauded the Government of Canada today for negotiating a trade agreement with China to open new markets for Canadian seal products. The new agreement, initialed by Federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea, allows Canadian trade to China in seal meat and oil products on the condition that the products meet China’s food quality standards for human consumption.
“We thank the Government of Canada for having the foresight to seek this agreement,” said Rob Cahill, Executive Director of the Fur Institute of Canada. “Negotiation of quality standards for the harvesting and handling of seals provides an excellent opportunity to prove the value of the seal trade as a sustainable and responsible way of living.”
The terms of the new agreement were reached between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and China’s Administration of Quality Supervision. It will allow the expansion of seal product exports to China beyond the fur markets to which Canadian industry already has access. The new agreement, which takes effect immediately, will provide new market opportunities beginning with the 2011 Canadian seal hunt.
Quick Facts on Seals and Sealing in Canada
• The Northwest Atlantic Harp Seal population is abundant and well conserved, numbering 9.5 million animals – the highest level ever scientifically estimated. Since the 1970’s, the population has multiplied by 4-5 times. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) lists harp seals as a species of “least concern”.
• Hunting methods required by licensed Canadian seal hunters are effective and conform to established practices of animal welfare. These methods were implemented in 2009 and are based on recommendations by the Independent Veterinarians’ Working Group (IVWG 2005).
• Seal meat and seal oil (rendered from fat), provide a sustainable source of protein and a superior source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids for human consumption. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency certifies production facilities, inspects products and issues export certificates.
• Seal hides, or “pelts” are handled locally in Canada, where they are tanned into high-quality materials for both domestic use and export.