Northern Cape Breton sealer Robert Courtney said it was a black day for Atlantic Canada on Tuesday when the European Parliament approved plans to ban the import of seal products.

Fishermen-sealers like Courtney, who was docking his boat at Dingwall wharf Tuesday morning, stand to lose some of their hard-earned livelihood because of the EU import ban, which was being widely interpreted as a move to force an end to Canada’s annual seal hunt.

But it was the thought of a growing seal population unchecked by an annual hunt that most concerned Courtney.


“To me, this is surely a bad day for Atlantic Canada, for the whole fishing industry,” said Courtney, who noted the EU ban was all the talk of an incredulous group of fishermen at Dingwall wharf.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada estimated the size of the harp, grey and hooded seal herds on Canada’s East Coast at about 6.4 million animals this year while setting an overall quota of 338,200 animals.

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