Group out to im­prove seal in­dus­try’s im­age

Na­tional as­so­ci­a­tion launches book­let to ed­u­cate pub­lic

The Compass - - TRINITY SOUTH - BY COLINMACLEAN TC ME­DIA

The Cana­dian Seal­ers As­so­ci­a­tion is gear­ing up for the re­lease of its new book­let on this prov­ince's seal­ing in­dus­try.

Sim­i­lar doc­u­ments have been pro­duced to high­light the har­vest­ing and ap­pli­ca­tions of other fish­eries species - now it's the seal­ing in­dus­try's turn.

Frank Pin­horn, pres­i­dent of the Cana­dian Seal­ers' As­so­ci­a­tion, gave The Tele­gram a look at the pub­li­ca­tion Mon­day. He said they would be ready for dis­tri­bu­tion in the very near fu­ture.

The doc­u­ment is called " Seal­ing: Re­new­able Re­sources - Re­spon­si­ble Har­vest­ing - Nat­u­ral Prod­ucts." It's 26 pages long and, while it was pro­duced by the seal­ers as­so­ci­a­tion, the fac­tual data came from the pro­vin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ments

It's chock-full of in­for­ma­tion about var­i­ous as­pects of the seal­ing in­dus­try, said Pin­horn.

It's also a di­rect at­tempt to ed­u­cate the pub­lic and dis­pel some of the myths as­so­ci­ated with the in­dus­try.

"We've high­lighted the ma­jor el­e­ments of the seal­ing in­dus­try and what it means to our prov­ince through our his­tory and our cul­ture. A lot of the self in­ter­est groups like to be­lit­tle, and say that this is only a very mi­nor part of New­found­land and Labrador, but it's quite the con­trary. It's a ma­jor part of our his­tory and our cul­ture," he said.

The book­let is full of colourful il­lus­tra­tions, graphs and var­i­ous high-res­o­lu­tion pho­tos. It cov­ers ev­ery­thing from the his­tor­i­cal hunt to seal bi­ol­ogy and a step-bystep process of har­vest­ing an an­i­mal to the var­i­ous uses of the meat and pelts.

The doc­u­ments will be made avail­able on­line at www.seal­har­vest.ca and in print at var­i­ous lo­cal es­tab­lish­ments in­clud­ing stores that sell seal prod­ucts, restau­rants, li­braries and so on.

Peo­ple are cu­ri­ous about the in­dus­try, said Pin­horn, adding his of­fice reg­u­larly gets re­quests from jour­nal­ists, students and oth­ers who want a syn­op­sis of the in­dus­try and its his­tory. This pub­li­ca­tion pro­vides that. It's also a use­ful mar­ket­ing tool, he said. De­mand for seal prod­ucts is as high as it ever was, said Pin­horn, and while the herds' num­bers continue to climb, it's the per­fect time to start this cam­paign.

"What we all have to re­al­ize is that the mar­ket for seal meat and seal re­lated prod­ucts has not changed - it's pol­i­tics that has changed. What hap­pened in Rus­sia was pol­i­tics. What hap­pened in Europe was pol­i­tics. This (doc­u­ment) tries to dis­pel that," he said, ref­er­enc­ing two large in­dus­tries that have shut their doors to the im­port of seal prod­ucts.

Pin­horn said the book­let is avail­able pub­licly im­me­di­ately and will be dis­trib­uted in the com­ing weeks.

Fund­ing for the book­let was ob­tained through the prov­ince's Fish­eries Tech­nol­ogy and New Op­por­tu­ni­ties Pro­gram. cmaclean@thetele­gram.com wit­ter: @Tele­gramMacLean

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