Media Centre

NTI Urges Canada to strongly oppose EU seal ban

(May 6, 2009 – Rankin Inlet, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. Vice-President of Finance, Raymond Ningeocheak, was shocked to learn that European Union Parliament passed the first reading of the ban on the import of seal products.

“Although we braced ourselves for the worse , the ban still comes as a shock. It seems that a decision of this magnitude should be based on facts and not moral perceptions. With over 5 million seals in the Atlantic the ban obviously isn’t about conservation,” said Ningeocheak.

The estimated harp seal population in the Atlantic is estimated to be between 5.4 and 5.8 million.

In 1983, the European Economic Community imposed a ban on all “baby” seals (whitecoats and bluebacks). This resulted in a decreased demand and the eventual collapse of the sealskin market, which impacted both Inuit and Inuit communities.

“A futile attempt to limit the impact of the ban on Inuit and our communities has been made through an exemption. However, history shows that a ban, regardless of exemptions, has an adverse affect on everyone. The ban may be able to distinguish ‘Inuit’ and ‘traditional’ but the market doesn’t have any grey area,” continued Ningeocheak.

Federal Minister of International Trade, Stockwell Day, has committed to challenge the European Union seal ban through the World Trade Organization.

“The ban has passed the first reading, but there is still time to lobby against it before the ban becomes law. I welcome Minister Day’s commitment to oppose the ban in the WTO. As Inuit and as Canadians, we will continue to fight to keep the tradition of seal hunting alive for our culture, our communities and our people.”
For further information:

BJ Barnes
Assistant Director of Communications
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
Tel: (867) 975-4905 Toll-free: 1-888-646-0006