Canada senate committee endorses seal cull

Oct 23, 2012
A harp seal pup lies on an ice floe in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in 2008. Canadian senators on Tuesday endorsed a plan to cull 70,000 grey seals in the southern Gulf of Saint Lawrence in an effort to preserve groundfish stocks.

Canadian senators on Tuesday endorsed a plan to cull 70,000 grey seals in the southern Gulf of Saint Lawrence in an effort to preserve groundfish stocks.

The Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans called for the "targeted removal" of grey seals whose hefty appetite for cod, they say, is preventing the recovery of the cod fishery.

"After hearing from more than 40 witnesses representing diverse viewpoints on seal management, the committee is persuaded that seal predation is preventing the recovery of groundfish stocks" in the region, said Senator Fabian Manning, chair of the committee.

"This is the best course of action under the circumstances to enable a healthy cod fishery and the continuation of vibrant and prosperous in Atlantic Canada and Quebec," Manning said.

Critics say that in this multi-species ecosystem one cannot count on a reduction in seals having a positive impact on cod stocks.

The committee itself acknowledged that more research is needed to determine the percentage of cod in a seal's diet, and how far they will swim to feed.

What is more, even supporters of the cull note that the market collapsed for seal meat and pelts after the European Union in 2010 banned seal products from Canada.

According to government figures, the total population of grey in eastern Canada increased from about 13,000 animals in 1960 to between 330,000 and 410,000 animals in 2010.

In the southern Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the grey reached a record 104,000 animals during the same period.

Explore further: Ranchers benefit from long-term grazing data

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Growing seal population threatens small-scale fishing

May 10, 2011

Seals and the fishing industry compete for fish of all types – no matter whether it is salmon, whitefish, herring or cod. Seal-safe fishing gear is the most sustainable solution, and we need knowledge ...

Marine scientist discusses cod colonization

May 24, 2012

New evidence suggests that Atlantic cod may have the ability to affect entire food webs in both benthic and pelagic marine ecosystems, according to a University of Maine marine scientist, writing in the Proceedings of ...

Recommended for you

Ranchers benefit from long-term grazing data

42 minutes ago

Scientists studying changes in the Earth's surface rely on 40 years of Landsat satellite imaging, but South Dakota ranchers making decisions about grazing their livestock can benefit from 70 years of data ...

Diverse gene pool critical for tigers' survival

1 hour ago

(Phys.org) —New research by Stanford scholars shows that increasing genetic diversity among the 3,000 or so tigers left on the planet is the key to their survival as a species.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

KalinForScience
5 / 5 (3) Oct 24, 2012
very "clever" decision... and who ate the cod, who brought it to extinction - were the grey seals ??!!! or the greedy fishermen and those who pay to eat it (canadians being one of the leading hunters)... No! It was not the seals... but, alas, it has been decided by a bunch of idiots that the seals should pay for humans' mistakes.. We shall not allow this crime to happen!
xen_uno
5 / 5 (3) Oct 24, 2012
Typical political spin by idiot politicians with the art of redirection and ignoring the true causes. I hope to see some senators losing their jobs next election cycle ...

More news stories

Ranchers benefit from long-term grazing data

Scientists studying changes in the Earth's surface rely on 40 years of Landsat satellite imaging, but South Dakota ranchers making decisions about grazing their livestock can benefit from 70 years of data ...

Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects—specifically, ...

Unlocking secrets of new solar material

(Phys.org) —A new solar material that has the same crystal structure as a mineral first found in the Ural Mountains in 1839 is shooting up the efficiency charts faster than almost anything researchers have ...