From: Paul Schaefer, ENN
Published November 6, 2007 10:36 AM

Seafood Companies Call on Canada to End Seal Hunt

WASHINGTON – A list of well-respected seafood distributors are boycotting select seafood imports to protect Canadadian seal populations and end Canada's seal hunting practices. These distributors supply seafood to major U.S. chains, including BJ’s Wholesale Club, Shaw’s Supermarkets, Sam’s Club and Target.

The boycott has won the full support of the influential Humane Society of the United States who applauded the participation of some of  Canada's most respected seafood distributors.

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“ The cruelty involved in Canada ’s commercial seal hunt is unacceptable,” said Jim Chambers of Prime Seafood, one of the top seafood suppliers to restaurants in the Washington , D.C. metro area. “I’m a bit surprised that Canada ’s sustainable seafood advocates haven’t come out against the commercial seal hunt yet. I hope they do. They have the power to help bring the hunt to an end.”

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“We’re focusing our boycott effort on seafood from the hunting provinces in Eastern Canada , including snow crabs,” said Bob Sullivan, president of The Plitt Company. “The vast majority of snow crab from Canada comes from the sealing provinces. It’s an important fishery to the men who participate in the commercial seal hunt.”   

Companies that participate in the ProtectSeals boycott pledge one of three things.  Until the hunt ends for good, they will not purchase Canadian snow crab, all seafood from Canada ’s sealing provinces, or all Canadian seafood. Many of the seafood companies that have joined the ProtectSeals campaign are on the vanguard of the sustainable seafood movement, and each has shifted some -- or all  -- of their seafood purchasing away from Canada until the seal hunt ends permanently.  They recognize that the carnage, cruelty, and waste associated with Canada ’s commercial seal hunt is inconsistent with responsible marine stewardship.   

“If the seafood industry is to survive, we need to do a better job respecting oceans and ocean creatures. The sort of cruelty that is perpetrated off the East coast of Canada in the annual seal pup slaughter is not acceptable,” said Henry Lovejoy, owner of EcoFish. EcoFish is a sustainability pioneer, winning the Seafood Champion award from the Seafood Choices Alliance in 2006, and earning the Corporate Special Recognition Award from the Ecological Society of America in 2007. 

Ecofish is not alone in its dedication to sustainable seafood and to seeing the commercial seal hunt end. Collectively, the seafood companies that have joined the ProtectSeals boycott campaign sell seafood to thousands of restaurants and grocery stores. As the front end of the US seafood supply chain, their participation in the ProtectSeals campaign is especially welcome.  As suppliers, their decision to stop selling Canadian seafood ripples through the United States.

Seal hunting is an off-season activity conducted by commercial fishermen from Canada 's East Coast. By boycotting Canadian seafood , the HSUS hopes to convince the fishing industry to end the seal hunt by requesting a sealing license buyout plan for the fishermen who participate in the seal hunt, replicating the model Canada established when it banned commercial whaling. 

According to trade data from the Government of Canada, Canadian exports of snow crabs to the United States have dropped by over 400 million dollars since the boycott began. The HSUS does not claim that the ProtectSeals boycott is the sole cause for the drop, but it is the most easily remedied of the major causes. Once the commercial seal hunt ends, the boycott will end for good.

The following seafood companies have joined the campaign:

Monterey Fish Market

 

EcoFish

The Plitt Company

Shucks Maine Lobster

Prime Seafood

Miami Crab Corporation

Cod and Capers Seafood Corporation

Down East Seafood

Mrs. Seafood, Inc.

Fish King Seafood Company

Reel Fresh Fish Company

Happy Catch, Inc.

The Crustacean Company

Big Blue Fisheries

Palomino Foods

Other ProtectSeals campaign participants include Ted Turner’s Ted’s Montana Grill, Legal Sea Foods, Whole Foods Markets, Oceanaire, Trader Joe's, and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Cafes.  A list of all companies supporting the Protect Seals boycott is available at www.humanesociety.org/restaurantsforseals .

For more information: www.humanesociety.org/protectseals .

 

 

 

 

 

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