SEAL ALERT-SA 16th July 2006
The Round-up, the Panic, the Innocence, the Fear - Mothers with Nursing pups
Namibian Sealers Demand Increased Quotas as Seal Specie Collapses
in the cruellest seal cull in the world
Fisheries Minister Must Resign
The Sealers, the Confusion and the starving soon to be, Innocent Nursing "to be clubbed" Victims
Seal Alert-SA asks you to closely look at what we have uncovered
and which we believe should be brought to the attention of the public.
Namibia's 2006 Sealing
Quota of 85 000 is an 68% increase on 1993 quota - with the
seal population 27% below 1993 population, still recovering
from three mass die-off's where one third to one half
starved to death in 1994, 1995 and 2000.
Since this 2nd mass die-off to hit the seals within 6 years and a 3rd and 4th following 6 years later again, the following unanswered questions have plagued this industry?
◦ Why has Namibia continued with its sealing policy to cull nursing seal pups illegally, when the species is clearly collapsing.
◦ Has Namibia allowed sealers to exceed their sealing quotas by in excess 100%.
◦ Namibia's current 2006 sealing quota - is a seal pup genocide. Why is it being allowed.
The total pup population on the sealing colonies at Wolf/Atlas Bay and Cape Cross in 1993 was 164 000. Namibian fisheries minister stated yesterday the 2006 pup production was 73% of pre-1993 population. That is 27% lower than 13 years ago. Between 18-24th December when surveys are conducted, that would give a pup population of 119 000. Within weeks pups suffer a natural mortality of between 25-32%. Leaving a possible sealing pup population of 7 month old pups, at the start of sealing season on 1st July, of just 84 000.
Namibia's 2006 sealing quota of 85 000 - would therefore imply every pup is slaughtered.
Namibia is only entitled under its constitution to harvest seals in a "sustainable manner" - this seal genocide of baby seal pups is therefore illegal and the minister should be brought before cabinet to answer, why he recommended this increase, when the seal population is 27% lower than in 1993.
Leading South African Marine and Coastal Management scientist and advisor to the Minister, stated - "there is no way the sealers will reach their quota".
Francois Hugo of Seal Alert-SA therefore seriously questions what is going on in Namibia's sealing industry and has many more questions and no answers from officials. Namibian scientists refused to be interviewed for fear of losing their jobs and being given 24-hours to leave Namibia.
The following was taken from the Sapanet ANC newsbriefing on the 16th August 1995, (the year following the first mass death incident). It reflects an eerie tale of mismanagement and abuse.
@ NAMIBIA-SEALS - CAPE CROSS, Namibia Aug 16 Sapa - Namibia seals face another year of starvation - Namibia's Cape fur seals are facing another year of starvation because of a lack of fish, a sealer at the coastal Cape Cross reserve said on Wednesday.Sea Lion products manager at the reserve, Philipp Metzger, said pups culled so far this year had 20kg to 25kg less blubber than normal. "It's not enough for them (weened pups) to go swimming far.Fifty per cent of the seals are in good condition. The rest are poor or very poor. They can't survive this year as well." Last year about 500,000 seals died of starvation on the Namibian coastline. Metzger said a researcher from the Fisheries and Marine Resources Ministry was investigating the situation. The researcher believed the seals would survive if there was sufficient fish. "There haven't been fish here for three years. Where are they going to come from now?" Seal culling at Cape Cross began on August 10 and Metzger said this year's small quota would be stretched over the season, ending in November.
@ NAMIBIA-PETITION - CAPE CROSS, Namibia Aug 16 Sapa - Sealers petition Namibia government for higher quotas Namibian sealers left without work this year because of lower culling quotas have petitioned the government to increase the quotas, sealers said on Wednesday. Sea Lion products manager at the Cape Cross coastal reserve, Philipp Metzger, said less than half of the seasonal work-force had been re-employed this year. Most were migrant labourers from Namibia's northern areas and they depended on sealing from August to November for their only income. Sea Lion, which normally employed 40 workers, could take on only 14 this year, Metzger said. Namibia's seal culling quota is a little more than 17000 for this year, compared to more than 55000 last year. Metzger said about 100 people with between two and six years' experience had arrived for work this year. "They were crying. They were very depressed when I told them to move." Sea Lion foreman Eliaser Kwejo said those people would have no income this year. "They will stay back at home and starve. They are already appealing to the government for bigger quotas." Metzger said their petition had been delivered to the government.
According to Namibia's head biologist Dr Jean-Paul Roux, the sealing quota for 1995 - 17 450 and for 1996 - 20 500.
At the 20th Meeting of the CITES Animals Review Committee meeting in Johannesburg 2004, in a report prepared by TRAFFIC and the IUCN/SSC Wildlife Trade Program - it reveals Namibia exported 37 019 skins in 1995 (117% over the quota) and in 1996 exported 42 611 skins (109% over the quota). This raises serious and obviously unanswered questions?
Most importantly, why did sealers petition for an increase in sealing quota, when one third to one half had already died in 1994 and the current 1995 breeding season was looking equally as bad with pups harvested 20-25kg under weight. When they exported 37 019 skins on a 17 450 quota for 1995? (where did these additional seal skins come from?)
According to the 2002 Fishing Industry Handbook. In 1999 - Sealers could only harvest 25 161 seals (80%) on a TAC quota of 30 000. Which earned N$ 3.5 million (US $ 580 000) or 0.15% of fishery exports. The minister, well aware that the seals were experiencing their largest mass die-off to date - doubled the sealing quota to 60 000. Resulting in 2000 - Sealers could only harvest 41 753 seals (69%) on an increased TAC quota of 60 000. To further indicate how irresponsible this minister is, the sealing market in 2000 dropped to N$ 600 000 (US$ 100 000) or 0.02% of fishery exports.
Within one year of doubling the sealing quota the average price dropped from N$ 139 (US$ 23) to N$ 14 (US$ 3) - a decline per seal of 90% in value.
According to the 20th Meeting of the Animals Committee of CITES in 2004 - Namibia only exported 2 124 seals skins in 1999 (and not the 25 161) and in 2000, exported 48 686 seal skins, when they declared only 41 753 had been harvested.
Please therefore either call for an immediate end to the sealing industry in Namibia or the resignation of Fishery Minister Abraham Iyambo.
On-line Petition to Namibia
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
ANIMAL FOUNDATIONS AROUND THE WORLD
PROTESTING THE ANNUAL SLAUGHTER
IN NAMIBIA, SOUTH AFRICA OF THE CAPE FUR SEALS:
Canadian Voice for Animals.
SEAL ALERT – SOUTH AFRICA www.canadianvoiceforanimals.org/SASealAlert_Index.html
ACTION AGAINST POISONING, Netherlands
ARGOS Animal Welfare Society Thessaloniki, Greece
CIDAG Coalition, Greece
Marchig Animal Welfare Trust
Winsome Constance Kindness Trust
International Organization for Animal Protection OIPA, Italy
Seal Alert SA by OIPA English Italian
Action Against Poisoning
Page with info from the start in www.actionagainstpoisoning.com English
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Sea Shepherd about the cape fur seals south Africa
Dutch web site