Alert-SA's Review of the Scientific
by Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources
Blood soaked sand
is all that remains of the Cape Cross Seal Colony
Seal Alert-SA refers to the Ministry of Fisheries Press Release dated 14 August 2007. Seal Alert-SA has now reviewed the scientific presentation.
Seal Alert-SA totally disputes the statement that we were unable to provide any alternative to seal harvesting. Two 30-minute presentations to both your Prime Minister and to the 34 participants present in the meeting on 9 August, will confirm Seal Alert-SA's presentations were full of alternatives to seal harvesting (A copy of which has been forwarded to the media). As we believe that your current method of sealing is cruel and in fact unlawful, we did not attempt to illustrate a further an alternative method, in an already unlawful activity. We did however illustrate why sealing should stop. How sealers have directly caused a population imbalance, how sealing is not sustainable and how sealing has cost the fishing industry thousands of jobs and billions in lost profits.
We put forward the concept of non-consumptive use of the seal resource as an alternative, and the undertaking to assist with eco-tourism development.
The extermination by Sealers of Namibia's largest mainland colony as confirmed by aerial photographs taken before and after the meeting on the 9 August 2007, confirm. By your scientists own admittance, awarding two sealers the right to harvest 46 950 pups at Cape Cross. When your scientists acknowledge that prior to the start of sealing season on July 1. The Cape Cross colony of pups 65 073 (recorded in December 2005) would experience a natural mortality of 44% to 62%. Which would leave 36 440 or 24 727 pups alive by July 1. Clearly for the Ministry to then set a TAC of 46 950 pups, would be un-sustainable. As it exceeds the number of pups alive by some, 10 510 - 22 223 pups. Even more so, to then award a three year rolling TAC.
Not a single issue raised in the Seal Alert-SA presentations were meaningfully addressed by either of the Namibian scientists. In fact, not a single shred of proof was submitted by the scientists to dispute the evidence submitted by Seal Alert-SA.
It is therefore incorrect for the Permanent Secretary Frans Tsheehama to allege that the scientists provided enough evidence to prove beyond doubt that the allegations made by Seal Alert-SA had no basis. This was clearly a cheap shot by your Ministry in an attempt to regain somesort of credibility in the eyes of the media.
The issues presented to the Prime Minister and at the meeting on 9 August 2007, remain unaddressed. The issues in the interests of the conservation of the Cape fur seals and the Namibian people, require serious further deliberation.
Seal Alert-SA is ready and able to attend the next round of meetings. In light of the extermination by sealers of the Cape Cross seal colony, we trust the Ministry will act quickly and set a date soonest, so that Seal Alert-SA can make the necessary arrangements.
We request that the meeting is chaired by someone who is unbiased and objective to the proceedings and therefore propose that perhaps an official from the Public Protectors Office in South Africa, (who has an intimate knowledge of the Seal issues) be invited to chair the next meeting or alternatively the meeting is chaired by the Prime Minister, once again.
We look forward to your official invitation.
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA