photo by Misserion
The Humane Society and thousands of grocery stores and restaurants have banded together to put an end to Canada's seal hunt, the largest commercial killing of marine sea mammals in the world. These supermarkets and eateries hope to turn up the economic pressure on the Canadian government and fishing industry by boycotting Canadian seafood.
Standing Against Seal Hunting
The Fresh Market Company is one of the newest businesses to boycott Canadian seafood. Other members of the boycott include Whole Foods,Ted's Montana Grill, Legal Sea Foods, Trader Joe's, Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Cafes and Earth Fare. Each of these companies have made one of three pledges: Not to buy Canadian snow crabs, not to buy Eastern Canadian seafood or not to buy any Canadian seafood until the seal hunt ends. The Humane Society possesses signed copies of each pledge.
Little Money in Sealing
Two-thirds of all Canadian seafood is consumed in the United States. Seafood exports to the US account for 2.5 billion dollars pumped into the Canadian economy per year. Individual fishermen make very little from the seal hunt, less then three percent of their annual incomes. In fact, sealing only accounts for 12 to17.5 million dollars worth of fur sales per year.
Lots of Money in Snow Crabs
The Humane Society's strategy seems to be working. There has been a 460 million dollar drop in the value of snow crab exported to the US. Most of those snow crabs come from Newfoundland where ninety percent of sealers reside. By targeting the sealers in Newfoundland, the Humane Society and its growing band of grocers and restaurateurs hope to express their outrage over the seal hunt.
A Humane Compromise
When Canada ended the whale hunt, it set up a license retirement program. The Humane Society proposes that Canada set up a similar program for sealers. Canadian fisherman who commercially hunt seal would receive payment to make up for the income they would normally earn through the sale of seal furs. If a program like this is enacted and the seal hunt ended, the Humane Society and its food-service allies would end their boycott.