Newfoundland premier in CNN showdown with Paul McCartney

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier to appear on CNN's Larry King Live Friday night opposite singer Paul McCartney about the seal hunt.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams will appear on CNN's Larry King Live Friday night to spar with pop superstar Paul McCartney.

Williams was invited to appear on the highly rated talk show to discuss the seal hunt, which McCartney and his wife Heather have been protesting this week. The U.S. Humane Society invited the couple to witness the hunt.

Earlier this week, Williams invited McCartney to talk with him about the seal hunt, but did not receive a response.

McCartney, who visited seal pups in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, claimed Thursday that 95 per cent of the seals killed in Canada are less than three months old. The singer urged the prime minister to intervene to stop the seal hunt.

The hunt of whitecoats, or harp seal pups whose fur has not yet turned grey, has been illegal since 1987.

McCartney said the hunt is "quite a small amount of their annual revenue and this could be easily sorted out by the Canadian government."

Federal Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn said Friday the federal government will not be swayed by McCartney's opinion.

"Let me make it clear. If Paul McCartney thinks he's going to stop the seal hunt, ahead of him there's a long and winding road," said Hearn, who is also Newfoundland and Labrador's federal cabinet representative.

The federal government estimates the harp seal population now stands at 5.9 million, up from two million in the 1970s, before restrictions were imposed on the hunt.

Williams said in a statement Wednesday he was frustrated that celebrities "pass judgment on individuals who are participating in an industry that sustains their lives, puts food on their tables, and clothes on their children's backs."

Williams' appearance will be taped at the CBC Television studio in St. John's Friday afternoon.

Larry King Live airs on CNN at 10:30 p.m. NT, 10 p.m. in most of Labrador and 9 p.m. ET.

The McCartneys' visit attracted international media attention, with hundreds of news stories published or broadcast around the world.