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Fisheries and Aquaculture
October 14, 2010

Minister Outlines Latest Effort in Support of Sealing Industry

The Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, recently held several successful meetings in Budapest, Hungary, and Brussels, Belgium, as part of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador's ongoing strategy to address the temporarily suspended European Union (EU) ban on seal products. While in these cities, Minister Jackman met with senior government officials and non-governmental organizations.

"It is very important to our provincial sealing industry that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador make our views known to the international community and gather information on the status of the temporarily suspended EU ban," said Minister Jackman. "We are approaching this issue from a variety of perspectives and building alliances with important international stakeholders in the global sealing industry. The trade ban is completely unfair and not based on scientific evidence or sound conservation practices. A ban such as this is clearly in violation of international trade agreements."

On August 19, the European Court of Justice announced that it was temporarily suspending the implementation of the ban on seal products, pending the outcome of a legal challenge. The legal challenge was brought forward by the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and Fur Institute of Canada (FIC), with support from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Provincial Government has committed $50,000 to support this legal challenge. ITK is representing Canadian Inuit in the legal challenge while the FIC is representing the Canadian sealing industry.

In Budapest, Minister Jackman met with Tamas Marghescu, Director-General of the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation and representatives from the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Department of Forestry, Fishing and Hunting.

In Brussels, meetings were held with the Vice Chair of the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament, Struan Stevenson, the Canadian Mission in Brussels, as well as legal counsel at Stibbe, one of the firms representing the ITK and FIC in their legal challenge. Also while in Brussels, Minister Jackman met with senior representatives of the European-based group, the Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation. This influential organization represents over seven million EU hunters.

Officials from the Provincial Government represented the department at the 19th International Trade Fair for Fur and Fur Processing in Moscow, Russia, from September 28 to 30. The Canadian Seal Marketing Group also participated in the show. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador committed $100,000 to this group for international promotion of seal products.

Previously, the Government of Canada announced that it was asking the World Trade Organization (WTO) to establish a panel to examine the lawfulness of a ban on Canadian seal products under WTO agreements. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador had been pressing the Federal Government to take trade action against the EU since April 2007 and is pleased that the Government of Canada decided to pursue trade action after the vote to ratify the EU ban on Canadian seal products in July 2009.

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

2010 10 14                                                     10:05 a.m.

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