Namibian Seal Cull is - Now Officially - a Seal Genocide
On the state run Namibian Broadcasting Corporations website on the 11th July, the Minister claimed, "the annual harvesting of seals takes place in line with the country's laws and accepted international conservation principles and practices", adding further, "its management strategy is aimed at ensuring the sustainable use of the marine resource under the constitution". He said, "the seal population in Namibia has enjoyed an overall recovery rate (from the 1994 and 2000 mass die-off where 300 000 seals starved to death) of 73 percent".
In 1993 the number of pups born on the mainland sealing colonies of Wolf/Atlas Bay and Cape Cross was 164 248 - of which Namibia awarded a sealing TAC quota of 50 850 seal pups. Thereafter Namibia reported it second largest mass die-off from starvation where one third to one half of the total seal population starved to death.
In 2000 the number of pups born on these mainland colonies, "had recovered to 90% of the number counted in 1993", according to the Namibian Press Release in response to its doubling of the sealing TAC quota for 2000 to 60 000 pups.
In this same press release - Namibia announced one month after the 2000 sealing season had ended, that it has suffered its third mass die-off in the last 12 years, and its largest to date.
Based on these minister's statements that the number of pups born has recovered to 73% (2006) - lets examine this.
In 1993 the pup production was 164 248 with a sealing TAC quota of 50 850 - (31% of pups).
In 2000 the pup production was 147 823 (90% of 1993) with a sealing TAC quota of 60 000 - (41% of pups).
In 2006 the pup production was 107 910 (73% of 2000) with a sealing TAC quota of 85 000 - (79% of pups).
What has changed scientifically to warrant Namibia to increase its seal pup harvest ratio from 31% to 79% of the pup production with two mass die-off's in-between where one third to one half of the total population starved to death?
It is important to understand why the Namibian 2006 Seal Cull is an - Illegal Seal Genocide.
Seal harvesting quotas were traditionally set as high as 30% of the number of pups born during surveys carried out on the 18-24 December. The reason for this claimed by sealing scientists is that 30% of these pups die anyway in the wild naturally.
Seal Alert-SA would however like everyone to know, that this 30% natural mortality occurs within the first few weeks from birth. So, in the case of this 2006 sealing season, which started on 1st July, (provided there was no mass die-off), the maximum number of pups still nursing and alive on the sealing colonies at Wolf/Atlas Bay and Cape Cross would be - 75 537.
Mr Willem Burger of Namibian Venison and Marine exports has confirmed in the 2005 sealing season, with a sealing TAC quota of 65 000, he was only able to harvest 80%.
With the Minister announcement that 2006 Sealing quota is 85 000 - and with only a maximum of 75 537 seal pups still alive in the colonies come start of sealing season on 1st July.
This 2006 seal quota will kill ever pup - a seal genocide.
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
Subject: Namibian Seal Cull - Illegal and Genocide
SEAL ALERT-SA 13th July 2006
The Namibian Seal Cull is Illegal and a Seal Genocide
- Why does Govt. Continue to deny this
Francois Hugo of Seal Alert-SA, the originator of this campaign to end the Namibian Seal Cull - the cruellest in the world - was shocked once again to read the ministers comments published in the Namibian yesterday. Seal Alert-SA would like to place on record that although all our reports have been sent directly to the Minister, we have yet to receive even the professionalism of an acknowledgement or a reply, and was most concerned that we were not invited to a "question and answer session" organised by the Ministry. Is the Minister afraid of the facts Seal Alert-SA has presented for the first time in this campaign?
Minister Iyambo stated "There is no less cruel method to cull seal pups than to club them" and confirmed that after doubling the seal quota in 2000 to 60 000, and then announce one week later 300 000 seals had starved to death in Namibia's biggest mass die-off to date, that the 2006 - Seal Pup Quota - has increased to 85 000 pups. He further called on "local and international experts and animal welfare groups to propose better methods".
Does the Minister deny the seizure in 2002, by the US Department of Commerce - NOAA Fisheries of 5000 Cape fur seal skins exported from Namibia into the US? Not in the sealing countries of Canada, Greenland, Norway or Russia - is the killing of nursing baby seal pups - considered legal or humane. The US Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972 - has banned the import of all seal products from South Africa and Namibia for this very reason. Namibia remains the only country in the world to slaughter its nursing baby seals.
Therefore the issue is not whether the Namibian's methods are "less cruel" - the issue is - it is illegal and inhumane.
In the Ministers own words this is a Seal Cull. De Beers Consolidated Diamond Mines has stated in a letter on the 6th July, that "De Beers does not support any seal culling activities". Is the minister ignoring the concerns and official viewpoint of its largest contributor to the Namibia's economy, bearing in mind 50% of this cull takes place within the diamond restricted area belonging to Namdeb?
It is further strange that in 2000, the Minister bans fishing at Cape Cross Marine Reserve, but then awards sealers increasing quotas to club and shoot Cape fur seals at this Cape Cross seal colony, the largest in the world.
In Canada the harp seal population numbers 5 million, with about one million pups of which the government then awards sealers a quota of 325 000, about 30%. Sealing only starts when pup has been abandoned after trebling its weight by its mother and is self surviving and is fully weaned.
In Namibia, Cape fur seals which are an entirely different species, take up to 11 months to be fully weaned, and as their weaning period is so much longer, they suffer a natural mortality of 30% within first few weeks. At the two mainland sealing colonies on average 120 000 pups are born, who within weeks will see up to 35 000 pups die naturally, (provided there has been no mass die-off from starvation where every pup dies) ,leaving a seal pup population of 85 000 at best for 2006.
The one sealing concession holder Mr Willem Burger of Namibian Venison and Marine Exports in the diamond restricted area confirmed recently that for 2005, when the quota was 65 000, he could only harvest 80% of his TAC. Irresponsibly the Minister goes and increases the quota for 2006 to 85 000.
With only a maximum of 85 000 pups still nursing on these mainland sealing colonies in July and with Namibia's Sealing quota for 2006 of 85 000 - this is pure illegal Seal Genocide taking place. I urge the world to condemn this and call for the minister's resignation.
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
Subject: [HuntingdonSucks] SPEAK Action Alert - Where will you be on the 22nd July?
Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2006 15:41:33 +0100 (BST)