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U.K. seal hunt boycott threatens Canadian fishery

The Story

"Will you stop this carnage and butchery? You can by not buying Canadian fish products!" A young woman on a Nottingham street exhorts passersby to help pressure the Canadian government to end the seal hunt. Heartbreaking images of seal pups dominate the boycott literature, and coordinators say the campaign has already succeeded beyond their expectations. On CBC's The Journal, Canada's high commissioner says sales of B.C. salmon have suffered more than any east coast species.

Medium: Television
Program: The Journal
Broadcast Date: April 3, 1984
Guest(s): Pater Davis, Dan Jamieson, Ian McPhail, Dan Morast, Richard Sweet
Host: Bill Cameron, Barbara Frum
Reporter: Bruce Garvey
Duration: 17:28

Did You know?

• In 1982 Canadian fish exports to Britain were worth approximately $80 million -- ten per cent of total worldwide exports.

• The IFAW boycott campaign in Britain began immediately after the European Commission ban was extended in October 1983. On Feb. 6, 1984, the supermarket chain Tesco, with 465 stores, said it would no longer stock Canadian fish products until the seal hunt was ended. Safeway, with 105 stores, soon followed.

• In 1984, due to the EEC export ban and British fish boycott, there was no vessel-based commercial seal hunt; only landsmen went out.

• The Canadian government refused to give in to the boycott that year and announced it would guarantee sealers 80 per cent of the usual price for seal pelts -- about $24 each.

• Fish products manufacturers, fearful the fish boycott would spread to the United States, urged an end to the seal hunt. Even the fisheries ministers of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia agreed the danger of losing the U.S. market would justify a ban.

• Other groups, including the Fisheries Council of Canada, the Canadian Sealers' Association and the federal Progressive Conservatives (then the Opposition in Ottawa), supported a moratorium on hunting whitecoat seal pups.



Pelts, Pups and Protest: The Atlantic Seal Hunt more