Stop the west coast seal slaughter before it starts!
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An annual quota to kill thousands of pinnipeds, seals and sea lions, is being proposed by a group of commercial and sport fishers called the Pacific Balance Pinniped Society (PBPS). We are trying to stop this inhumane, unscientific, and profit driven mass killing before it starts.
Why is this happening?
PBPS has been trying to convince the public and the government that there is an overpopulation of pinnipeds in the Salish Sea which are compromising the recovery of the Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) population. They argue that the pinnipeds are eating too many juvenile chinook salmon which the SRKWs eat once they have matured.
However, the true reason for their proposal is that they want to create a market for seal and sea lion meat and skin on the west coast of Canada. There is evidence they are sending samples from 30 seals, killed by First Nations, to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to test and see if it is safe for human and animal consumption.
Is there evidence to support this?
No. This is a classic bait and switch by the fishing industry to try and blame other wildlife for the decline of the SRKW population, when it is the fishing industry itself who has contributed significantly to the decline.
Seals were hunted relentlessly by the fishing industry, who see them as competition, in decades past until their numbers were down to only about 10,000. At that point the government stepped in to protect them. Their population has recovered and has been stable for 20 years. There is no evidence to support overpopulation in this context.
Furthermore, transient killer whale populations eat seals and reducing their numbers significantly could have adverse effects on this population. Also, only about 4% of a seals diet is salmon with the rest being primarily hake and herring. Hake are a major salmon smolt predator, so killing seals could increase the population of hake and further decrease the salmon population.
No matter how you cut it, killing seals to save salmon is just bad science.
The bottom line
Killing one group of animals to protect another that are suffering due to anthropogenic causes is unethical, bad public policy, and could have significant negative consequences on other species and their ecosystem.
However, there is substantial evidence to support that we need to protect the Southern Resident Killer Whale population by decreasing commercial and recreational marine traffic in their environment, place a moratorium on chinook salmon fisheries, and create protected areas for them to live without human interference.
We cannot allow profit-driven industry dictate irresponsible wildlife management policy to our federal government. That is why we are calling on the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Jonathan Wilkinson, to stop this seal slaughter before it starts — do not endorse the killing of seals and sea lions.
Animal Alliance of Canada
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