From: SealAlert-SA sasealion@wam.co.za
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006 06:01:29 +0200

Subject: "De-bunking" the myths of Commercial Sealing

De-bunking the myths of Commercial Sealing

Throughout the world, sealing nations consider their seals as a resource, written into the constitutions as such, and as such, innate objects, such as common household furniture, enjoy a greater state of protection under the law. The over-riding concept behind this, as a resource, it can therefore be commercially harvested as a right. The fundamental flaw to this system, and with which the least attention is paid, is its ability to be sustainable.

Sustainability, can mean many things to many different people, but above all it is not a natural process. It is a man-made method of killing wildlife. Based on this philosophy, any rise or stability of a given population of animals "harvested" is then considered sustainable. The determination of which lies in the production of its new-born, as the sole basis for its success.

Every Sealing activity in the world, is administered not by wildlife conservationists but by commercial fishing managers, who equally are employed to sustainable manage the harvesting of fisheries throughout the world.

Commercially managed fisheries established less than six decades ago, under concepts of sustainable fishing, have all proven themselves throughout the world to be an un-sustainable activity, with every single manager and every single fishing nation. With 70% of the world's fisheries in a state of over-exploited or collapse and with the world's fishing fleets thirty percent over-subscribed. Abundant fishery practices in which for example over two million tons were harvested of a species in the early 70's, has seen the same species collapse to a point of zero quota. In fact, more and more fishing nations, are introducing total bans on certain fishing methods, practices and fishing species.

The simple fact after six decades of marine resource harvesting of marine wildlife - that commercial harvesting, is simply an unsustainable fishing practice. Yet, although this conclusive fact has existed throughout the world, not a single fishing nation has to date acknowledged so, during the fact.

The sealing nations of South Africa/Namibia or Canada for example, lay claim to their sealing practices, by declarations of a growth in any harvested seal population, and it is herein, that comes the myth.

Nowhere in the natural world of marine wildlife species can population growth today be a natural factor. With less than 1% of the world's marine wildlife remaining, with global warming, habitat loss and overfishing all contributing to ensure a continuing declining natural environment.

In Canada, DFO lays claim to between the 1970's and 2000, although over 2 million seals were harvested, the harp seal population, not only grew, but trebled in population size to 5.8 million. With a thirty percent natural mortality failure rate in the wild of its young and an unknown percentage of seals dying from old age, the maximum growth of any species of seal, under pristine, pre-exploitive periods, would be less than ten percent overall population growth per year.

With global warming, change in sea patterns, loss of habitat, overfishing and unnatural mortalities caused by fishery interactions, the possibility of a natural growth in any seal species, is both an impossibility and illogical. Yet, this is exactly what sealing nations purport to claim. That not only is the harvest of seals, the only practiced fishery in the world, from many hundreds of different fishing species, but that this "sustainability" is such, that these seal populations are continuing to grow at their pre-pristine and pre-exploitive states.

In southern Africa for example, ignoring that commercial sealing alone, caused the complete extinction and extermination of every natural breeding habitat of seals, where over 23 breeding nurseries for seals, were not only exterminated but have remained extinct, continue to purport a growing sustainable harvestable seal population. On closer examination today, of the current known breeding colonies at 47 locations, 39 of which, in which no commercial sealing has been practiced for the past three decades of official management, have revealed a zero growth, and in fact, an overall decline throughout all 39 seal colonies.

As well it should, considering the state of the earth's marine environment - this is in fact totally logical. Therefore with this logical fact in mind, no commercial fishing of seals should be allowed anywhere in the world today. Yet, according to marine fishery managers, 9 commercial sealing colonies, be-dunked all Natural Laws of Nature, and instead experienced growths exceeding pre-pristine population growths, even after, annual harvesting levels of over fifty percent of each year's pups or seals. The same statement, issued by other sealing nations.

There can therefore be only one logical explanation, if these seal population figures are fact and not myth. That commercial harvesting of wildlife - seals, is not a sustainable practice, but in fact, unnaturally causes a temporarily population explosion in the production of its new-born.

This very result or fact, is the direct opposite or motivation behind every sealing nations, seal harvesting policies, the reduction of the world's natural seal populations to ensure greater fishery profitability of other more profitable fishing species.

Be-bunking all the myths, commercial sealing, which is not according to the laws of nature - Natural, will cause the extinction of the seal species throughout the sealing nations world, and when it comes, it will be sudden and in mass, with no hope of prevention.

For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA