Is Canada killing too many seals?

 作者:公仪陟     |      日期:2019-03-08 03:05:02
By Stuart Blackman THE Canadian government has rejected evidence suggesting that its annual harp seal cull is unsustainable, and has set the same quota for 1999 as for the past two years. Seal hunters will be allowed to kill 275 000 animals this season. This is well within the “replacement yield” of 286 700 that a 1994 population census suggested could be taken without causing a decline in population. “The herd will not be threatened by this year’s harvest,” said David Anderson, the fisheries and oceans minister. However, research by David Lavigne, director of the International Marine Mammal Association, reveals that when those animals that were shot but whose bodies were not retrieved are taken into account, the number of seals killed in each of the past two years is between 420 000 and 550 000. “The government has stated previously that its objective is a stable seal population,” says Lavigne. “My analysis is that it has not been achieving its objective for the past three years.” John Harwood of Britain’s Sea Mammal Research Unit says the number of seals “struck and lost” has risen since restrictions on killing young were introduced because older animals now make up a higher proportion of the catch—and they are more likely to be shot in the water. Environmental groups maintain that the government should have erred on the side of caution, particularly in the light of the collapse of stocks of cod and other fish. But Gary Stenson, a scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, says that new research from Greenland suggests the seal population would sustain a cull significantly greater than the replacement yield. More on these topics: