Governments offers help to develop seal products in backing Atlantic industry - InfoNews

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Governments offers help to develop seal products in backing Atlantic industry

A seal hunter drags a harp seal back to his snowmobile in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in this April 2, 2005 file photo.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
December 06, 2013 - 8:50 AM

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Almost $500,000 is being spent by the federal and Newfoundland and Labrador governments to enable the Atlantic Seal Development Association to develop a frozen seal meat product for the wholesale market and a vacuum packed product for retailers.

Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea says Ottawa will spend $292,000 through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, while the province will contribute the remaining $206,000.

Shea made the announcement today at a boutique in St. John's, N.L., that sells seal skin coats, boots and other merchandise.

It comes after a World Trade Organization ruling last week that Europe's ban on imported seal products can be justified on public moral concerns for animal welfare.

Ottawa has defended Canada's commercial seal hunt as humane and plans to appeal the WTO decision.

Animal welfare advocates called the trade ruling a major victory that respects aboriginal sustenance hunts.

They say public tax dollars should not be used to prop up what they describe as a dying industry.

Shea said the WTO findings should be of concern to all its members and by appealing the ban Ottawa is standing behind thousands of families that rely on commercial sealing.

The pilot project for seal meat will be based in Newfoundland and Labrador.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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