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The Ministers of Fisheries for Canada, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, Russia, and the Representative of Greenland issued a joint statement.
(Oct. 19, 1995)

Having reviewed the state of the fisheries resources in the North Atlantic,

Discussed the issue of the increasing seal populations in certain areas of the North Atlantic,

Noted that conservation, based on an ecosystem approach, is of fundamental importance to maintain biological diversity and productivity in the marine environment,

And taking into account the interests of aboriginal peoples, recognized that:

The abundance of seals in the Northwest Atlantic continues to ba a conservation problem seals may be harvested like any other marine resource there is a need, in a number of areas of the North Atlantic, to reduce the sizes of the seal herds, in a sustainable and humane manner, through expanded commercial harvests where possible.

The Ministers noted that the human population of the world is increasing and that, in the absence of management of significant marine species, including seals, there will be insufficient food for the world's human population, and severe feeding problems for the marine species themselves. The ministers agreed on the need for a joint public information campaign to make this situation widely understood."

Source: Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Comment on Canada's Sealing Policy

Thu, 11 Jan 1996

At the Eleventh Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, held in Orlando, FL from 14-18 December 1995, ninety-seven scientists from at least 15 countries signed a petition entitled Comment on Canada's Seal Policy. The petition stated:

"As professionals in the field of marine mammal biology we disagree with the Canadian government's statement that North Atlantic seals are a 'conservation problem.' All scientific efforts to find an effect of seal predation on Canadian groundfish stocks have failed to show any impact. Overfishing remains the only scientifically demonstrated conservation problem related to fish stock collapse. If fishing closures continue, the evidence indicates that the stocks will recover, and killing seals will not speed that process."

The original petitions can now be viewed publically on the IMMA Web site. The URL for the petitions is http://www.imma.org/petition.html otherwise, click on the 'What's New' icon on the homepage http://www.imma.org/

Dave Johnston

WHALES ON THE NET - http://www.whales.org.au the Online Voice of WHALES IN DANGER (WID)
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