This MUST become the focus of our 2008 Campaign - Francois.
Original Message -----
March 12, 2008 11:16 AM
Namibia Cull Baby (non-fish eaters) to Protect Fish Stocks
- Nobody Will Answer?
SABC Seal Culling Issue.
Seal Alert for the past decade, has
asked one question - why do endangered baby Cape fur
seals make up 90% of Namibia's annual seal cull?
The Namibian Prime Minister when asked
doesn't know, the Fisheries Minister won't answer, the
Director of Marine Resources refuses to answer, CITES won't
or says they can't interfere. WWF or IFAW does not know
neither, with even IFAW excluding baby Cape fur seals in
its recent EU seal import ban campaign. The originator of
the recent EU declaration to ban seal imports, head of the
Green Party and RSPCA, did not even know Namibia was
culling baby seals.
So how does Seal Alert get an answer to
such an important question.
Both South Africa and Namibia have
stated they cull seals to reduce their consumption of fish,
but the cull is based on slaughtering baby seals, who by
definition are suckling milk and are therefore non
fish-eaters. The breeding part of the population, the
females are exempt from slaughter as is all other fish
eating seals, except about 6000 bulls for the far east
penis trade or those killed for trophy hunting.
The recent Scientific European Food
& Safety Authority Review has found Cape fur seal
pups are weaned between 1 - 3 years of age. Seal culls
occurs when pups are still nursing at between 7 and 11
For the past 100 years, govt's in South
Africa and Namibia, have had a policy of culling baby Cape
fur seals which account for 90% of the annual seal cull
quota, although this species is listed by the United
Nations Convention in Trade of Endangered Species (CITES)
as an Appendix II endangered animal. Whose listing states,
"Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened
with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in
order to avoid utilization incompatible with their
survival" and where 99% or 23 seal colonies of their
original (offshore) habitat remains extinct, which includes
the largest and second largest islands in South Africa and
Namibia's primary motive for this annual
seal cull, is to reduce the fish consumption of the seals,
for increased commercial fisheries quotas. Millions of baby
seals have been slaughtered. Whose methods have been
described in the recent (December 2006)
Scientific European Food & Safety Authority Review
as being cruel and inhumane, to herd seals together, and
then club pups dependent and nursing, as they flee back to
the sea, alongside their fleeing/escaping mothers.
Europe has already taken a policy
decision on the slaughter of baby seals commercially, with
its ban on pup imports of the harp and hooded seal
populations, in its Pup Directive legislation introduced in
1983. The harp seal species has never been endangered and
is 5-times larger than Cape fur seals. Canada itself
introduced regulations banning the slaughter of nursing
baby seals in 1984. This is even with a collapsed cod
Likewise non-sealing countries of
Belgium, Mexico, Netherlands and Germany, with Italy,
Croatia and the UK to follow soon, have all recently
banned Cape fur seal imports.
All baby Cape fur seal skins were
originally exported to the US, who reviewed these methods
in '72, shortly after introducing legislation which
prohibits the taking of a seal pup still nursing. At the
time the seal cull started in August, when these babies
were a month older (then current start of sealing), yet
even with a Supreme court application in the US to
overturn this ban or secure a waiver, (Which the SA Govt
lost). the US has continued with this ban. This in turn
lead govt to introduce legislation to protect Cape fur
seals in 1973, which also saw govt privatize the seal
culling industry, and to declare this species an Appendix
II endangered species with CITES in 1977, and began legal
exports of these baby seal skins to Europe. To which it now
exports 100% of these seal skins.
The slaughter of nursing baby seals
still account for 90% of the seal cull quota, with sealing
season moved forward to kill baby seals, one month
earlier/younger, starting in July.
In the meeting with the Prime Minister
of Namibia on the 7 July 2007, this exact question was
asked, with the Fisheries Minister present. Why does
Namibia cull baby seals to protect fish stocks?
The Prime Minister replied, "I do not
know the reason or why we have to kill baby seals, perhaps
this question can be answered by the Minister who is
The Fisheries Minister replied, "We are
out of time Prime Minister, this and all other questions
will be answered in our meeting on the 9 August 2007".
This question was again put to the
Namibian Director of Marine Resources and the Namibian
Ministry of Fisheries, Dr Moses Maurihungirire, in a recent
EU/COWI meeting in Belgium, where he again could not answer
the question, instead he offered, "Killing unweaned pups -
why is this perceived as negative? The only difference
is the diet, so why the sensitivity?
The question has never been answered.
When Namibia became independent in
1990, its pup production was 187 221 to which it applied a
pup quota of 27 800 pups. Which resulted in sealers
killing 9 784 or just 35% of this "sustainable" set quota.
17 years later, the pup production is down to 120 000, and
the pup quota has increased to 85 000.
This leaves a reality, that 62% of
the 120 000 pups born December 2006, will have died before
sealing starts on July 1, from natural causes and
mainland predation. That would leave 45 000 pups alive for
sealers to club. Yet, their 'sustainable' quota issued by
the Namibian Ministry of Fisheries, almost exceeds that
number by double, with an 85 000 annual pup quota.
In reality, Namibia's baby pup seal
kills have increased 750% since independence.
Namibian sealing regulations define
a pup has less than one year old.
Herewith is the contact details of the person in Namibia
for the interview.
of Fisheries and Marine Resources
+264 61 205 3114
61 220 558
81 129 3145
Hugo Seal Alert-SA
link to sealmancam