Seal­ers no ex­perts on pop­u­la­tion bi­ol­ogy

Cape Breton Post - - COMMENT -

Sealer Robert Court­ney is not a marine bi­ol­o­gist and is not qual­i­fied to spec­u­late on the sus­tain­abil­ity of grey seals in our marine ecosys­tem (Two Sides Per­form Del­i­cate Dance Wait­ing for Seal Hunt to Start, Feb. 16).

Marine bi­ol­o­gists tell us seals are highly adapt­able to their en­vi­ron­ment. When con­di­tions are not favourable, such as dur­ing a scarcity of food, re­pro­duc­tion rates drop. Seals con­trol their own pop­u­la­tion growth in this man­ner without the need for hu­man in­ter­ven­tion. The CapeBre­tonPost wel­comes let­ters on mat­ters of pub­lic in­ter­est for pub­li­ca­tion over the writer’s name. Let­ters must state home ad­dress and phone num­ber where au­thor­ship can be reached for ver­i­fi­ca­tion. Let­ters must be no more than 300 words. Pub­li­ca­tion is at the dis­cre­tion of the Post and all let­ters are sub­ject to edit­ing for read­abil­ity, gram­mar, taste, pro­pri­ety and length. To en­cour­age a di­ver­sity of con­trib­u­tors and opin­ions, let­ters by same writer will not ap­pear more fre­quently than twice a month. Copy­right in let­ters and other ma­te­ri­als sub­mit­ted to the pub­lisher and ac­cepted for pub­li­ca­tion re­mains with the au­thor, but the pub­lisher and its li­censees may freely re­pro­duce them in print, elec­tronic or other forms. For e-mailed let­ters, do not in­clude at­tach­ments. Opin­ions ex­pressed in let­ters are those of the au­thors. The Cape Bre­ton Post, its pub­lisher or pub­lish­ers, and Transcontinental Nova Sco­tia Me­dia Group Inc. do not nec­es­sar­ily en­dorse the views ex­pressed therein.

There is no such thing as an “ex­plod­ing” seal pop­u­la­tion. We must be mind­ful that grey seals were hunted to near ex­tir­pa­tion by 1949 and are sim­ply fol­low­ing a nat­u­ral re­cov­ery path.

For Court­ney, this is not about ex­plod­ing pop­u­la­tions, or fish stock pro­tec­tion, or even the very few dol­lars he puts in his pocket from killing baby seals each year. This is about ex­ter­mi­nat­ing a species he con­sid­ers to be a pest.

His own words to me­dia re­cently were: “ We should be able to get rid of a cou­ple thou­sand an­i­mals” – re­fer­ring to the grey seal pups on pro­tected wilder­ness area, Hay Is­land.

Seal­ers are not marine bi­ol­o­gists. They are merely fish­er­men armed with wooden clubs and knives. They are not a cred­i­ble source of in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing grey seals. Brid­get Cur­ran Hal­i­fax di­rec­tor, At­lantic Cana­dian Anti-Seal­ing Coali­tion

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