OTTAWA – Canadian seal hunters, reeling from foreign bans that decimated their industry, said Thursday they are on target to increase this year’s harvest by more than 40 percent.
However, the final figure is predicted to come in far short of the government-set allowable catch of about 400,000 for the season.
Nine days into the hunt, sealers estimate their cull in the North Atlantic stands at almost 60,000 seals, compared to 69,000 for all of last year. Overall, they are aiming for a harvest of 100,000.
Ottawa maintains that the 350-year-old commercial seal hunt is humane and crucial for around 6,000 North Atlantic fishermen who rely on it for up to 35 percent of their total annual income.