Carino not buying seals this year
CEO calls decision ‘short term pain for long term gain'; says market access key for future
Carino Processing will not be buying seal pelts or fat this year, but company CEO Dion Dakins says the decision is geared to improve the industry's and the company's viability in the years ahead.
Dakins said the company has inventory from previous hunts on hand.
However, he said they will be purchasing a limited amount of seal meat from harvesters who are participating.
As a result of the decision, Dakins said Carino has also decided not to access any of the $1 million loan announced last week by the provincial government.
"At this point we just want to focus our efforts on the sale of our existing inventory," Dakins told CBC's Fisheries Broadcast.
"It just falls into the basic concept of fiscal responsibility and the financial responsibility of our company to remain strong and be a significant player next year."
Not wanting to be irresponsible
Dakins said the key to a viable operation for Carino and any operator in the business is to match supply and demand. That being the case, he said the company doesn't need the raw material at this particular point in time.
"Had we continued to just stockpile goods and not appropriately market and plan the flow of goods out the back end, that would be irresponsible. We're here, we've got lots of pelts, we've got lots of oil, we're going to procure the meat we require, and we'll be here stronger and better next year," Dakins said.
"It wasn't an easy decision, it wasn't one we take lightly, we know we have a responsibility to keep our harvesters viable. But it is short term pain for long term gain, that's how we view it."
Dakins said the hours for Carino processing workers will be affected due to the lack of raw material processing, but he the impact will be lessened by the fact the company's dressing and dyeing operations will be running as per usual.
International markets key
The key going forward, he said, will be accessing international markets for seal products and demonstrating globally that the harvest is not only viable and sustainable, but also a necessary fisheries eco-management tool.
"I think that we're challenged with an appropriate model that's going to be received internationally to allow us to trade our products into a number of markets," he said.
"Without a viable seal hunt, what do we do in terms of managing this population? It's clear we can't afford expensive culls, and Canadians don't prescribe to wasting a resource; they prefer to see it harvested and utilized under the basic principles of sustainable use to improve our economy.
"If that is not realized sooner rather than later we will lose the capacity to go and hunt to a high animal welfare standard, and trade the products and be a contributor to our local economies."
New players welcomed
Dakins said the idea Carino doesn't appreciate having another seal buyer in the fold is incorrect. On the contrary, he argues the emergence of new players means there must be something going right in the industry.
"Carino has spent enormous effort in developing international markets over the past 100-plus years, so it's nice to see new entrants because there must be something we've been doing that is encouraging and showing people there is a brighter future."
"There is more than enough resource to sustain more than one player in this industry. In 2008 there were five businesses, dressing facilities, that were operating 52 weeks a year on seal products. If one experiences a benefit then we'll all experience a benefit in this very difficult sector that has been challenged by misinformation for so long."
Dakins argues that misinformation continues to flow largely from anti-sealing lobbies. He argues the continued assertions by those groups that the harvest is unsustainable, inhumane and provides products that nobody wants is factually incorrect.
"They're part of the business, they make money off the concept that we are cruel, that we are barbaric and that we are doing something incorrect," Dakins said.
"In their case they just want to completely stop the whole thing. It's all hocus-pocus.
"This is a viable industry, self-sustaining and provides good products to customers."