Culling and Harvest of Seals and Sea Lions

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Culling and Harvest of Seals and Sea Lions

Controversy Between Environmentalists and First Nations


 

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Photo byDick Martin onUnsplash

 

I remember a very scenic drive down the Pacific Coast Highway in 1989. There was a small hamlet called Trinidad which I stopped at to buy some dried barnacles in the gift shop. Off the docks, all along the shoreline, in that area, were seals, barking and greeting the visitors. A small lighthouse added to the charm of this hamlet. 

 

Seal and Sea Lions are pinnipeds with tiny ear flaps.  They are carnivores, eating mostly fish with sharp teeth. Seals can eat up to 8 % of their body weight in one feeding. They are usually grey, brown, or a combination of short, thick hair, with a big chest and belly. Seals have long front flippers, can scoot on all fours on land, by rotating their flippers. They can move in the water at  16 knots or 18 mph. Deep dives cause gases to build up in tissues and are released on surfacing.

These are eared seals part of the family Otariidae with six extant and one extinct species(the Japanese Sea Lion).
 

They live from Antarctica to tropical coastal waters throughout the world except the Northern Atlantic. Living about 30 years, they grow to 660 lbs. and are 8 ft. long.

The females are called seals, and the males’ sea lions because they have a mane, and roar like a lion. The male has a harem of females whose gestation period is 9 months. The breeding period is from January to March. It coincides with the seasonal abundance. Female otariids remain in the rookeries to defend their territories and newborn pups. During May females arrive. They fight and show boundary display that increases territorial defence.


 

The hunting of seals was stopped in most parts of Canada and the United States, 40 years ago except for the Inuit in the far north who are isolated.  We are at the point of having to cull populations for the sake of the salmon industry. 

 

Workshops have been held between First Nations Elders of Canada, Washington Fish and Game, and Canada’s Department of Fisheries. Pacific Balance Marine Management Inc.(all First Nations). The President, Thomas Sewid, is pushing for a license to sell pinniped products due to the overpopulation of sea lions who are threatening endangerment of salmon and steelhead runs to extinction. 

 

In 1975 the California sea lion population was estimated at 88,924 animals.  The numbers have boomed to 257,631 according to NOAA statistics. 

 

Of the 27 million chinook smolts produced a year in the Salish Sea (wild and hatchery) the seals are consuming about 24 million of them. 

 

In BC, the First Nations experienced no commercial fisheries this spring to fall. There is no revenue from commercial fishing and The Kwakwaka’wakw have few fish to get them through the winter. They are in the process of losing homes and boats. Sewid of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation says that eco-activists are fighting the proposal for seal harvest. 

 

There are numerous markets for all parts of seals from furs, human food consumption, pet food consumption and medicinal needs from the Omega 3 fatty acids found in the oil. 

 

He also says that 4,000 BC jobs will be created by this harvest which will be done in conjunction with China, for fur exports worth $100 million, and the hunting and trapping industry worth $1 Billion. 

 

It will be interesting to see how many setbacks will come to First Nations due to environmentalist retaliation before we see this happen. 


 

……………………………………………………………………………………………

Shirley Langton 2020



 


Submitted: December 09, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Shirley M. Langton. All rights reserved.

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Comments

The Ghost-Bull

So far, it's neat. Haven't read all of it yet, but I'll be sure to tomorrow.

Thu, December 10th, 2020 6:49am

Author
Reply

Thanks.

Thu, December 10th, 2020 7:36am

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