Bloomberg News

Namibia Sets Seal Cull at 86,000 to Protect Fishing

July 01, 2011

(Corrects number of seals to be culled in first and second paragraph.)

July 1 (Bloomberg) -- Namibia plans to kill 86,000 seals this year, including 80,000 pups, for their fur pelts and to protect the southern African nation’s fishing industry, according to Bernand Esau, the minister of fisheries and marine resources.

The government will allow 80,000 young seals and 6,000 bulls to be culled between July and November, about the same number as last year, he said in a telephone interview today. The exercise, which is condemned by animal rights groups, is necessary for the survival of Namibia’s fishing industry, the government has said.

Namibia, together with Canada and Greenland, supplies most of the world’s seal-fur harvest, an industry it defends as necessary to preserve fisheries, one of its main exports.

The Namibian government has said seals consume about 700,000 metric tons of fish a year, more than the total annual allowable catch for its entire fishing industry. The nation is the biggest supplier of hake to the European Union, which has banned the seal trade because it says the clubbing and skinning of seals causes unnecessary suffering to the animals.

The Namibian hunt isn’t adequately monitored and seals are treated in a less humane fashion than in some other culls, animal rights groups, including the International Fund for Animal Welfare, have said.

In Namibia, the pups are clubbed to death while adults are shot, the Johannesburg-based Sunday Independent reported in 2006. The genitalia of adult bulls are exported to east Asia where they are sold as an aphrodisiac while the rest of the seals are used to make fur coats, gloves, handbags, seal oil and carcass meal, the newspaper said.

At Cape Cross, Namibia’s biggest seal colony, a shop sells seal products ranging from seal-skin boots to hats.

--Editors: Alastair Reed, Ben Holland.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chamwe Kaira in Windhoek via Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net


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