Info: Norwar Seal Hunting & research

Michael Williamson (
Mon, 18 Mar 1995 11:20:46

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Date: Sat, 18 Mar 1995 11:26:09 -0500 (EST)
From: Michael Williamson <WHE_WILLIAM@FLO.ORG>
Subject: Info: Norwar Seal Hunting & research
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Subj:	Norway-Seal Hunting
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Subject:      Norway-Seal Hunting
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Norway-Seal Hunting
 Associated Press Writer
   OSLO, Norway (AP) -- For the first time in six years, Norway is
allowing hunters to kill seal pups -- only this time, they can't use
spiked clubs.
   Trying to deflect international criticism, the government said
the hunt was partly a research project to test killing methods when
announcing it Wednesday.
   Norway had previously barred the hunt for baby seals mainly
because pictures of hunters bludgeoning snowy white pups provoked
intense international protests. It continued hunting adult seals.
   Hunters once clubbed the pups in the head to avoid damaging
their pelts, which can be sold for high prices. But this season,
the government says they have to shoot 2,600 slightly older, weaned
pups instead.
   In addition, Norway announced a hunting quota of 20,625 adult
seals this year.
   Fisheries Minister Jan Henry T. Olsen said scientists will study
the dead pups to chart growth patterns and to determine why death
rates among pups vary greatly from year to year.
   The ban on commercial hunting and the spiked clubs would remain
in affect this year, he added.
   Norway is already facing protests, sabotage attempts and
boycotts because it resumed commercial whale-hunting in 1993 after
a six-year break.
   Olsen defended the seal pup hunt, as well as legalized whaling,
as important to Norway's ecologic balance and fish resources.
   "We have to harvest seals and whales because they consume a
great deal of fish and if they were allowed to increase without
control there would be less" fish for people, he said.
   The government has also been under pressure from the
seal-hunting industry, whose stock of valuable seal pup pelts has
run out. They have a surplus of adult pelts, but those are more
difficult to sell because they are not as soft or durable.
   The government is allowing baby seal pelts from the research
hunt to be sold, however, prompting evironmentalists to call foul.
   "Of course we see this in light of the whale hunt, where Norway
started research hunts and then went on to commercial hunts," said
Geir Wang-Anderson of the environmental group Greenpeace. "It's
clear there is a lot of pressure (from seal hunters)."
   Norway grudgingly gave up its commercial whale hunts after 1986,
but continued research hunts until resuming commercial whale hunts
in 1993.