Subject: Case Study: Harp Seal Hunt/What do you think?

Michael Williamson (whe_william)
Mon, 24 Dec 1995 15:32:43

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Date: Sun, 24 Dec 1995 15:31:54 -0500 (EST)
From: Michael Williamson <WHE_WILLIAM@FLO.ORG>
Subject: Case Study: Harp Seal Hunt/What do you think?
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From:	SMTP%"MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET" 21-DEC-1995 20:14:33.44
Subj:	Re: New harp seal quota
Date:         Fri, 22 Dec 1995 00:58:30 -0500
Reply-To:     Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Sender:       Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
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From:         Scott <>
Subject:      Re: New harp seal quota
To:           Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
>According to reports by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC),
>Dec. 18, 1995, and Canada's national paper, "The Globe and Mail", Dec.
>19, 1995, Canada's Minister of Fisheries and Oceans finally announced
>his 1996 seal management plan.
>Claiming that harp seals are responsible for the fact that cod stocks
>in most areas of Atlantic Canada are not recovering, Tobin raised the
>quota on harps from 186,000 to 250,000 and said that collector (mother
>ships) might be used in the hunt so that more seals can be taken than
>the average of 60,000 per year in the past decade. The sealers will be
>allowed to take adults and juveniles but not whitecoat pups. The government
>will pay sealers as much as $1 million in subsidies.
>The sealers will shoot seals from boats, a method Canada's Royal
>Commission on Seals and Sealing called the least likely method of ensuring
>a humane kill.
>Neither of the reports mentioned a single scientist in support of Tobin's
>Anne D.
>Anne Doncaster
>International Wildlife Coalition
>P.O. Box 461
>Port Credit Postal Station
>Mississauga, Ontario L5G 4M1
>Tel:  (905) 274-0633
>Fax:  (905) 274-4477
        I always find it very difficult to believe that pinniped (or
cetacean populations for that matter) are solely responsible for the
depletion of fish stocks,(not including mariculture) to the point that it
is necessary for commercial fishers to cull large numbers of animals.  It
is very difficult if almost impossible to get an accurate quantitative
measure of the effect marine mammal populations have on fish stocks.
First, you cannot measure the actual food consumed by marine mammals
without first knowing what the population numbers of the target species are
(including birth rate, death rate etc.) and even if those numbers are known
it is still difficult; second what the catch per unit of effort of the
predatory animal is;  and third what the actual consumption rate/volume of
the predator is.  All these numbers are very difficult to obtain (as
expressed in Marine Mammals and Fisheries, Beddington et al. 1984)  How can
anyone really determine with accuracy whether or not marine mammals are
effecting fish stocks?  We can certainly measure the impact commercial
fisheries have on fish stocks (as exemplified by the closing down of major
fishing areas i.e George's Bank).  It is in my opinion that the culling of
marine mammals is not to protect the interests and livelihood of commercial
fishers, but that alternative economic factors are the real incentive.
        If anyone has any additional information on this topic, I would
greatly appreciate having that forwarded to me at  Thank
you for your time.
Scott Cramer