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Seal Alert-SA, 21 October 2006
No rescue. Namibia concealing its widespread seal starvation, whilst claiming over-population on a declining endangered seal species.
Whilst Namibia's annual nursing baby seal cull draws to a close on November 15, (in a practice banned since 1972 by the United States, the European Union in 1983, the sealing countries of South Africa, Canada, Greenland, Russia and Norway, and banned from import into Mexico, Croatia, Italy, Belgium, United Kingdom, Netherlands and now Germany) sealers report that the seal pup harvesting season has ended, (one month prior) as "there simply are not any more pups (to club and kill)".
Whilst Canada kills four times more seals (350 000), it does not kill 'nursing baby seals' and sets its quota at 30% of the pups in its 5/6 million seal population, whereas Namibia awards quotas that kill every pup (100%) that even with lengthened sealing seasons still cannot be filled on a seal population declining and suffering from repeated mass die-off's from starvation. Whilst CITES permits the detrimental international trade of this species, that the European Union continues imports.
Germany who once controlled the territory of Namibia and upon whom Namibia relies upon for its tourism, would do well to send a clear message to Namibia to end its sealing policy, as it takes over presidency in early 2007.
The 6000 bull shooting quota in 2006 for gentialia exports, will continue although sealers again describe the "bull seals are so weak they just lie on the beach, they are too weak to get up" (get shot where they lie).
What civilised country partakes in a so-called 'commercial sustainable harvest' of endangered and protected wildlife in nature reserves that involves rounding-up and clubbing to death baby seals already dying from starvation and too weak to move, and then charges tourist to view this wildlife splendour of the natural world, after the sealers have finished their morning killing spree?
This is an international crime against marine wildlife (there is no fair chase or sustainable harvest, and is barbaric, sadistic and cruel) that should not go unpunished by the international community. Francois Hugo of Seal Alert-SA appeals to other countries and its citizens to boycott Namibia's tourism, diamonds and fisheries, until Namibia ceases its sadistic and barbaric illegal sealing policy.
Aware that the Cape fur seal population had still not recovered from the 1994 mass die-off from starvation where one half of the seals starved to death (500 000 seals), and had since endure further mass die-off's in 1995, 1996, 2000 and 2001. Which had reduced the seal population by at least 50% in the last decade, and whose population in 2006, is at levels last seen in 1982.
Aware that prior to the start of the 2006 seal cull season that pups were already skinny. That Namibian researchers had revealed that long-term average growth of 30 grams/day, had declined to 2 grams/day, and that the majority of seal pups will not survive beyond post weaning age.
Acting Permanent Secretary Mr Amutse, on behalf of the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Abraham Iyambo on the 10th July, stated in an official press release, that "Namibia must utilise all natural resources as long as it is done in a responsible and sustainable manner", and that, "the Seal stock in Namibia is currently in a healthy condition, according to the latest biological information", adding, "total number of pups at around 185 000 (1982 population level)".
Responding to public protests that Namibian seals are not healthy, nor is sealing sustainable, held outside the Namibian High Commission in South Africa and United Kingdom, Minister Iyambo "assured (Seal Alert-SA founder Francois Hugo) that Namibia will use the best scientific advice to sustainably and humanely harvest seals".
Proceeded to lengthened nursing baby seal pup season of 85 000 pups started on July 1 (previously August 1), in order to facilitate sealers reaching their full (scientifically set) quotas. Something that has not occurred yet since Namibia's independence in 1990, with sealers averaging 60% of their quotas. Although Seal Alert-SA advised the Ministry that this quota of 85 000 (20 000 more pups than in 2005), would see a total pup genocidal cull of all pups still alive by July 1, the Minister continued with the cull. A violation of the CITES convention as Cape fur seals are listed as endangered under Appendix II..
Whilst Stephen Lussier, the Executive Director of External and Corporate Affairs for De Beers, hopes to conclude its billions of dollars 50/50 partnership with Namibia in its Diamond Contract, the single largest contributor to Namibia's GDP by year end. Stephen Lussier also wrote to Francois Hugo of Seal Alert-SA in July, in which he stated, "I cannot help but be moved by the images you have seen", and "De Beers has a real commitment as a company both to the environment and to conservation" and "De Beers does not support any seal culling activities,and to be completely clear De Beers has no involvement whatsoever in the current cull in Namibia".
Reacting to media reports of seals crawling ashore and dying like flies all along the coast (the majority in the diamond restricted area), Permanent Secretary Ms Mbako in an official media release states, (aware that Mr Cilliers of Seal Products at Cape Cross had to stop his harvest to bury 900 seal pups that died in three days, in which no sooner were they buried, that another 900 seal pups died) that "total pups at Wolf and Atlas Bay are below a threshold of post weaning survival mass of 11 kg, the majority of the pups in the south will not survive (The De Beers diamond restricted area, where it was reported that Namibian Venison & Marine Products had a sealing quota of 38 000 pups)". Although this diamond restricted area bans access to the public, cellphones and cameras - sealers can go in and out, with clubs and knives daily.
In her attempt to explain away (on the 10th October) Namibia's 7th mass seal die-off from starvation, Ms Mbako completely fabricates pup population levels stated by her Minister of 185 000 (in July), by now declaring, "Recent scientific research has shown an increase of the seal population by more than 73% in the Namibian waters as compared to the 1993 estimates", falsely claiming seal pups now number 380 000 and are over populated. Stating, "This implies that the population numbers of these mammals have reached a stage where their current food source has become insufficient to sustain their livelihood".
Never in the history of official seal population surveys, has the Cape fur seals for both Namibia and South Africa ever exceeded 324 000 pups. The peak in the seal population in 1993, is less than 10% of pristine population levels, from which seals have still not recovered from near extinction from sealing in 1900.
Fabricating the seal pup population by an additional 200 000 pups or an additional 800 000 seals, as an excuse for Namibia's collapsed overfishing policies.
Whilst Deputy Director of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Kilus Nguvauva secretly closes all fish processing plants and orders October a no fishing month. Its intended purpose to allow fish stocks to recover (in one month). At first, the Ministry, "wanted two months, of October and November, but later we came to an agreement with the industry that there would be no fishing only in October".
Mr Nguvauva, then goes on to state, "Government blames the high seal colonies in some coastal regions for the dwindling fish stocks" and as a result, "has introduced a controlled seal-culling process".
Overfishing or culls have ensured that the last seal pup born in 2006, has either died of starvation or been clubbed to death, whilst suckling its mother in nursing and birthing breeding grounds (whose milking characteristics pose no threat to Namibia's fish stocks).
Sealers has "sustainably" killed every last seal pup, and still their quotas are some 40% short.
An international crime that should not go unpunished or ever be allowed to occur again. Namibia must immediately announce an end to its sealing industry or face serious international economic consequences.
South Africa stopped commercially killing the same species of seal (Cape fur seals) 16-years ago in 1990, Namibia must now do the same.
Adult females, staving crawling ashore
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA