Date: August 16, 2007
Letter to Prime Minister Calling For an Immediate Moratorium on Seal Harvesting and Trophy Hunting of Seals
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Ref: Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
August 15, 2007
Dear Right Honourable Nanhas Angula Prime Minister of Namibia,
CC : Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources/Dr Moses Maurihungirire.
Re : Press Release Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources August 14, 2007
EXTINCTION OF THE LARGEST SEAL COLONY IN NAMIBIA DUE TO UN-SUSTAINABLE SET TAC SEALING QUOTAS BY THE NAMIBIAN MINISTRY OF FISHERIES & MARINE RESOURCES
Namibia is now in violation of every conservation principle of sustainable utilization imaginable.
In violation of;
1. Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries of the United Nations Food and Argricultural Organization.
2. Article 95 of the Namibian Constitution of sustainable utilization of resources.
3. IUCN sustainable utilization of seals from bountiful populations.
4. The Convention In Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) Appendix II criteria.
5. World ban on harvesting nursing baby seals and their imports.
6. Constitution of the Republic of South Africa which promotes the non-consumptive use of Cape fur seals, the promotion of their conservation and protection.
At the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources meeting on the 9th, Chaired by Dr Moses Maurihungirire. Three Namibian scientists gave presentations JP Roux, BJ Van Zyl and C Kirchner.
Ministry lists Cape Cross Seal colony as the largest seal colony in southern Africa and reportedly claims the pup production on this colony surpasses all other 25 colonies in Namibia and whose 2006 pup production of 65 073 exceeded all previous record high levels. Namibian travel websites claims that there are between 200 000 and 340 000 seals present on this colony.
In 2000 during a 2nd Symposium Journal of Sustainable Use, BJ Van Zyl was quoted, “These data are used in a model which predicts the ideal harvest levels for maintaining sustainable yields. Recommended pup harvests may be as high as 30% of the pups born”.
Ministry gives the pup production in 2006 for Cape Cross seal colony as 65073. 30% of this would give a TAC of 19521 pups. Ministry awards two rights holders a TAC for Cape Cross of 46950.
27429 pups more than what is the sustainable yield for this colony.
On June 8, 2006, JP Roux publishes a scientific paper with two other scientists S Mecenero and SP Kirkman. Its research covers the three sealing colonies of Wolf and Atlas Bay and Cape Cross for the period 1994 to 2002. Their research establishes that pup mortality prior to the start of sealing season on July 1 is on average 62%.
Ministry gives the pup production in 2006 for Cape Cross seal colony as 65073. Less 62% natural pup mortality prior to the start of sealing season on July 1. Leaving a possible 24727 pups still alive to harvest.
Ministry awards a pup TAC of 46950.
22223 pups more than what is alive on July 1.
Chairman of the meeting Dr Moses Maurihungirire on October 9, 2006. After setting an increased pup TAC of 30% from 65 000 to 85 000 pups, acknowledges that seals on the sealing colonies are suffering another major mass die-off.
Ministry then recommends to cabinet a 6% reduction in TAC pup quota and awards a TAC of 80 000 pups and 6000 bulls rolling for three years, for the start of the 2007 sealing season.
Supporting this conclusion evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Namibia’s Sealing Policy is non-sustainable. Seal Alert-SA presents two photographs of Cape Cross Seal Colony.
Photograph taken on August 20, 2005 at 10.35
Photograph taken (2 years later) on August 10, 2007 at 10.40.
The wall in the fore-ground in the first photograph is clearly visible in the aerial photograph in the second photograph. (high resolution close-up’s are available). The entire seal colony claimed to be largest in southern Africa is no more. It is therefore EXTINCT. Caused directly by un-sustainable TAC sealing quotas issued by the Ministry and harvested by the sealing rights holders.
Less than 30 days in the 139 day 2007 sealing season, Namibia’s largest mainland seal colony is deserted and for all intense purposes EXTINCT.
As reported in the Namibian Newspaper (August 15, 2007). Namibia cannot equally have two Ministry’s awarding permits to harvest bull seals. With the Fisheries Minister setting a TAC of 6000 bull seals to be shot by three sealing rights holders and the Minister of Environment and Tourism awarding permits to Trophy Hunters to shoot an unknown number of bulls between September and November.
As pointed out in our previous meeting, Namibia cannot pursue a policy of harvesting seals and eco-tourism. As visitor numbers to Cape Cross show, visitors of between 53 113 and 70 427 who generate of $2 million Namibian dollars are in fact now being defrauded due to the absence of any seals at Cape Cross.
Seal Alert-SA is therefore duty bound and mandated to insist that we can no longer enter into discussions on a way forward, until Namibia announces;
• An immediate moratorium on its seal harvesting and trophy hunting seal policy, both for pups and bull seals.
Seal Alert-SA therefore urges the Prime Minister of Namibia to act swiftly and announce a change in policy from a consumptive seal policy to one of a non-consumptive seal policy.
Failure to respond with immediate effect would nullify our agreement reached in the meeting on the 9th of August 2007.
Please be advised a copy of this letter is being sent to the media, as well as our worldwide network of over 12 million seal supporters in over 80 countries. The European Commission, Secretariat of CITES, United Nations Environmental Protection Agency, to list a few.
For the Seals, and respectfully yours,
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA