Today, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Loyola Hearn, announced that members of the conservation group, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, will be charged for unlawfully interfering with the seal hunt in Atlantic Canada. I am very proud of Hearn for taking decisive action against this group who have broken the law and endangered the lives of Canadian sealers.
For far too long, groups like the Sea Shepherd Society have broken the law to advance their agenda. A crime is a crime, no matter where it takes place. These individuals need to be held to account. No one is above the law, and if the law states that observers must stay more than 500m from the sealers, following it is not optional. The Sea Shepherd society disagrees with this and feels that they are above the law. When informed that they required permits to observe the seal hunt, their response (as posted proudly on their own website) was “permits. We don’t need no stinkin’ permits.”
The seal hunt is sustainable, economically important, and legal. The hunt does not destabilize the seal population; out of 5.5 million seals, no more than 275,000 may be hunted this year. Furthermore, many Atlantic communities depend on the infusion of income obtained during the spring seal hunt. This hunt is a hunt like any other legal hunt: regulated, licensed, and carefully monitored.
The Conservative Government is right to stand up for this legal hunt and to prosecute those who break the law by trying to harm it.