Carino buying as seal hunt set to begin
Sealers’ association president says industry outlook more positive in 2016
The company behind one of only two seal processing plants in the province has decided to buy pelts from sealers this year, following a hold on purchases in 2015.
While the industry is still dealing with reduced markets internationally, 2016 is being viewed in a more positive light by harvesters now that Carino Processing of Dildo has decided to seek 50,000 harp seals for meat, fat and hides.
“We will use these products to continue to service existing customers and new opportunities,” company CEO Dion Dakins said in a statement provided to TC Media last week.
The hunt is expected to open April 10 and, Dakins stated, harvesters have been made aware Carino is looking for stock.
Canadian Sealers Association president Eldred Woodford did not go out to harvest seals last year - the first time in 20 years - given a lack of demand. However, he is considering it this year, he said.
“It looks like it’s going to be substantially better than last year,” Woodford said, citing Carino’s plans.
It is also his understanding that the newer PhocaLux International operation in Fleur de Lys could take anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 seals, he added. Woodford couldn’t speak to pricing. “They’re still carrying an inventory of seal pelts, but in order to get meat or oil you’ve got to get new pelts in, too,” he said.
Beyond pelts, he said he believes there has been, in recent years, a greater demand domestically for seal meat.
Dakins has promoted the #HuntForFood on social media.
Sheryl Fink with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said more needs to be said about how much of the animals are actually being used for meat, domestically or otherwise.
“They’ve been trying for a long time to market the meats internationally. It hasn’t been successful,” Fink said.
“It’s an industry that’s in decline and I don’t think it’s going to be a viable industry for the future.”
While the IFAW and others oppose the hunt, the provincial Department of Fisheries said leading into the current sealing season, Minister Steve Crocker has met with local stakeholders in the industry to assure them of the government’s continued support.
There are three candidates looking to fill the vacant council seat in Spaniard’s Bay.
Tyrone Power, Paul Ryan and Tracy (Singleton) Smith will have their names on the ballot for the byelection being held Saturday, April 9. Voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Spaniard’s Bay Municipal Centre, with a polling station set up at the rear of the building.
Power is a public servant who currently works with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. He’s lived in Spaniard’s Bay since 2000 and previously worked as a teacher and school principal. Power is the owner and operator of Baccalieu Trail Safety services and a trained first aid instructor.
“I have always had a keen interest in politics and I had been considering running in our next municipal election, however having this opportunity presented to me at this time will enable me, if elected, to focus on potentially serving our communities earlier than anticipated,” he told The Compass in an emailed statement.
“If elected it would be an opportunity I would welcome and I would take on the role with a non-judgmental, non-prejudicial, unbiased and impartial perspective, with my goal being to work with council on making informed decision that are in the best interest of our communities.”
Ryan is a veteran of the Canadian Forces. Having served in Bosnia and the Persian Gulf region, he retired from the Navy in 2006. Ryan moved back to Spaniard’s Bay in 2011 and is currently the vice-chair of the newly formed Spaniard’s Bay-Tilton Citizens Committee.
“I don’t think accountability is being accomplished out there, and I think (council) needs to be a little bit more transparent,” Ryan told The Compass.
“I mean, you go there at times and you can’t even get into the meetings. It’s only the past little while where we actually started kicking up a little fuss that they let you out there. As well with that, I will say this — it seems to me like there’s just a great divide out there. Some people are not for the people. If I go out there, everything I do I do for the kids.”
Smith is originally from Tilton and now lives in Spaniard’s Bay with her family. She has an educational background in science, having completed her masters in chemical engineering at the University of New Brunswick. She now works at the oil refinery in Come By Chance.
“What I’m putting forward is a fresh face with new ideas and working together to ensure a better today and a bright, stronger tomorrow for our community,” said Smith.
“I grew up in Tilton, and I always took pride in participating in any activities that were involved, and I want to do the same now for my own kids and for future generations to come. Getting the youth involved in the community activities, having the council and town members meeting together to ensure we listen to the voices and concerns of our residents to make sure they’re addressed.”
Sheri Collins resigned from her council seat at a public meeting in January. The majority of the town’s firefighters resigned from the volunteer fire department immediately after
Collins announced her decision to the rest of council. These events sparked several weeks of turmoil in the Conception Bay North community.
Last month, the Spaniard’s Bay Volunteer Fire Department returned to action. The neighbouring department in Bay Roberts responded to calls in Spaniard’s Bay for two months.