Fisheries and Aquaculture
August 19, 2010
Province Pleased With
Progress to Overturn EU Seal Product Ban
The Government of Newfoundland and
Labrador announced today that it is pleased with the progress that has
been achieved in delaying the European Union (EU) seal product ban.
Today, the European Court of Justice announced that it has accepted a
request to delay the implementation of the ban until October 7, in
response to the legal intervention undertaken by the Inuit Tapiriit
Kanatami (ITK), representing Canadian Inuit. The ban was to come into
effect tomorrow, August 20. As well, the Government of Canada announced
today that it is asking the World Trade Organization (WTO) to establish
a panel to examine the lawfulness of a ban on Canadian seal products
under WTO agreements.
"Our government is very pleased with the
developments that have been announced on the EU ban of Canadian seal
products," said the Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Fisheries and
Aquaculture. "Our government has been approaching this issue from a
variety of perspectives and it is encouraging to see progress on so many
fronts at one time. This trade ban is completely outrageous and not
based on any kind of scientific or conservation considerations. It has
been clear for some time that the EU is in violation of international
trade agreements and we are glad that the Federal Government is moving
further to address this."
The EU ban is the subject of a legal case
with the ITK, which challenges the constitutionality of the proposed
regulation. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador provided $25,000
in initial financial support toward this effort. Other jurisdictions
have since agreed to provide funding as well.
The Provincial Government has been
pressing the Federal Government to take trade action against the EU
since April 2007 and was pleased when the Government of Canada decided
to pursue trade action after the vote to ratify the EU ban on Canadian
seal products in July 2009.
As recently as August 9, Minister Jackman
sent a letter to the federal ministers of Foreign Affairs and Fisheries
and Oceans seeking an update on the trade action the Government of
Canada had undertaken with WTO.
"The Williams Government is continuing to
support the sealing industry and approach this significant challenge on
a number of different fronts," said Minister Jackman. "WTO action can
only be taken by a national government. We are pleased that the Federal
Government is pursuing it. As an example of our current initiatives, in
September I will travel to Moscow for a fur show to further develop
markets for our seal products. I am following this up with meetings in
Budapest with CIC, an international group for the sustainable use of
animals. Our government was the first North American government to
become a member of this highly credible group. I will also meet with the
ITK legal team in Brussels regarding future strategies and funding
requirements. Our government has an ongoing program of support to the
Canadian Sealers Association for increased training of sealers. As well,
we are in the fifth year of a communications campaign to provide
information to the misinformed on the humaneness, sustainability and
viability of the Canadian sealing industry."
The Canadian seal harvest is important
for the management of seal herds which now stand at three times the
level of population when compared to the 1970s. This is problematic from
the perspective of conserving Canadian fish stocks. It has been
estimated that Canadian harp seals consume approximately 10 times the
total global harvest of wild fish.
"Our Provincial Government will continue
to make the sealing harvest a priority issue," said Minister Jackman.
"We will work toward the development of new markets for Canadian seal
products and with the ITK on the legal challenge. However, it is also
important that the Federal Government continue to use whatever legal
recourse it has at its disposal to support the legal, sustainable and
humane harvest of seals."
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Lori Lee Oates
Director of Communications
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
2010 08 19