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Fisheries and Aquaculture
October 22, 2010

Newfoundland and Labrador Pleased with Suspension of EU Seal Product Ban

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is welcoming a favourable ruling from the European General Court regarding a challenge to the European Union (EU) ban on seal products. The challenge was brought forward by the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and the Fur Institute of Canada (FIC). The Provincial Government provided $50,000 to support this legal challenge.

“It has always been the view of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador that this ban is unfair and not based on scientific evidence or sound conservation practices,” said the Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. “We were pleased to support representatives of the Canadian sealing industry in bringing forward this court challenge. Clearly the ban is a violation of international trade agreements.”

On August 19, the European General Court announced that it was temporarily suspending the implementation of the ban on seal products, as an interim measure pending the outcome of the legal challenge brought by the ITK and FIC. This week’s court decision confirms that the enforcement of the ban is temporarily suspended until a final court ruling can be issued on the challenge by the two groups. This means that the sale of seal products can continue under the temporary suspension of the ban. This suspension will remain in effect until the court has time to assess whether a continued suspension is warranted to protect the sealing industry’s interest during ongoing court proceedings, which seek to overturn the European Parliament seal product ban.

Minister Jackman recently returned from Brussels, Belgium, as part of a trip to support the province’s sealing industry. As part of that trip he was briefed on the court challenge by Stibbe, one of the legal firms representing the ITK and FIC in their legal challenge. Also while in Brussels the minister met with the Vice Chair of the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament Struan Stevenson, the Canadian Mission in Brussels and the EU Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation.

The minister also recently met with the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation on the Canadian sealing industry while in Budapest, Hungary.

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has also been working with provincial sealing industry representatives on this legal action, including the Canadian Sealers Association and seal processing companies throughout the province. As well, the Provincial Government has been working in consultation with the Nunatsiavut Government.

The Provincial Government is in the fifth year of carrying out a communications strategy on the province’s sealing industry. Approximately $500,000 has been allocated to this strategy to date.

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Media contact:
Lori Lee Oates
Director of Communications
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
709-729-3733, 690-8403
oatesll@gov.nl.ca 

2010 10 22                                                    4:45 p.m.
 


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