The Newfoundland and Labrador government is providing a $3.6-million loan for the purchase of raw material to boost this year’s seal hunt.

"Through today’s announcement, our government is providing financial support for the seal-processing industry in order to protect the future viability of the province’s seal hunt," Fisheries Minister Darin King said.

Carino Processing Limited will get the cash.

King says the loan will "ensure adequate raw material is available to Carino to address market demands as they arise, and will ensure hundreds of harvesters secure an income this year."

The money will allow Carino to purchase seal pelts and blubber or fat.

The government said the company will make a matching contribution for processing and marketing activities.

"Uncertainty around market access and political risk has made it increasingly difficult for companies trading in seal products to secure financing from traditional sources," said Dion Dakins, chief executive officer of Carino.

"Therefore, the support of the provincial government is essential to secure our future in Newfoundland and Labrador. This industry can continue to make a significant contribution to the economy once the external political issues are resolved over the next year or so. We are confident this will occur."

In December, King said Ottawa must do more to protect the industry after Russia — a major customer of Canadian seal products — signalled it would impose trade restrictions on those imports.

Canada has filed a challenge with the World Trade Organization over a 2009 ban imposed by the European Union.