|Anti-sealing groups continuously call the accuracy of federal government research into question through reference to the depletion of Cod stocks. These groups also promote the idea that the federal government wishes to ensure the existence of the seal hunt no matter what the cost. These organizations do this because they have no way to fight the data/science originating from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).
While the federal governments mismanagement of the cod fishery contributed to the depletion of cod stocks it was not the only reason and nor does it mean DFO mismanages all things it oversees. In fact, consider the sheer number of species on the east, west and north coasts of Canada that DFO manages compared to those which have been mismanaged and you will be left with a very, very small percentage. Also, by the nature of mammals, they are easier to manage than fish species mainly because population surveys are much easier to accomplish and more accurate.
The federal government of Canada has been actively researching the Harp seal since 1950 and was and still is a global leader in seal research. Canada worked closely with Denmark, Norway and the then Soviet Union to refine research techniques such as statistical modeling, aerial survey and ground truthing as well as research on the seals themselves which is where we get our general information about the harp seals, from gestation periods to age of death. This collaboration of research was pooled into an international database of seal knowledge which has been used in over 2000 scientific reports on seals worldwide. When one considers this and the fact that groups of government scientists have been conducting research on the Harp seals every year since 1950 compared to anti-groups who have not done any research in this regard it is not hard to see why they use the tactics they do in an attempt to counter sound scientific knowledge. Unfortunately due to sheer stupidity and the gullible nature of the general public and media they have enjoyed a measure of success. To think how ridiculous it is that groups of individuals with no scientific background or background in seal research can debunk over half a century of global scientific research. Even more ridiculous when one considers the combined billions of dollars these groups have brought in off the back of the seal hunt and have not used any to conduct their own research.
In regards to the government's desire for the seal hunt to continue, it is this writers opinion that the federal government of Canada would like nothing more than the seal hunt issue to fade into obscurity. In reality the seal hunt affects a small portion of the overall Canadian population and the potential damage the issue can do to a political career is immense when compared to the number of votes it can garner. The key is the fact it affects Canadian citizens. In my opinion, the main role of a government is to protect the citizens in which it governs. It does not matter whether it is one citizen being held captive in a foreign country or thousands of fishermen participating in a legal and well managed activity, they all deserve the protective umbrella of their freely elected government. This need is compounded by the fact that the attackers are using misinformation rather than the facts in said attack. To allow government policy to be dictated by such groups would be the same as giving in to the demands of any fanatical group.
This writer finds it interesting how anti-sealing groups will quote DFO statistics as gospel in one breath while saying information from DFO can not be trusted in the next, very interesting indeed.
Interesting reading relating to the Cod fishery:
Fishery Problems - Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage
Presentation to The House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans
Newfoundland and Labrador Government News Release