Ban on seal products – environmental nonsense

Publish date: April 14, 2009

“The proposed EU ban on trade in seal products would be environmental nonsense,” says Eivind Hoff of Bellona Europa.

On April 15th, such a ban will be discussed in a first “trialogue” meeting between the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament and the European Commission.

The main stocks of seals being hunted are now around historical highs. A blanket ban on trade in seal products would thus undermine the EU’s credibility as a serious partner in designing a new policy framework for the Arctic.

 “We Europeans have a primary responsibility for the loss of biodiversity throughout the world because of the ecological footprint our consumption puts on the rest of the world. It is our duty to do everything we can to reduce the pressure on endangered species, but a ban on trade in seal products would be counterproductive”, Hoff says.

Most sealing takes place in the North Atlantic, particularly in Canada, and concerns the harp seal. All countries bordering the North Atlantic are part of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), which consists of a network of 1,600 scientists. ICES has estimated that several of the stocks being hunted, such as the Greenland and Northwest Atlantic harp seal stocks, are around historical highs.