Apart from poor environmental conditions, the EU boycott deserves some credit for the poor seal harvest season. Russia's ban also deserves credit.
"On March 18, Putin labeled the annual hunt of the animals a "bloody industry" that "should have been banned a long time ago." Putin's words and law put Canada further into isolation on the seal-hunting issue.
Sheryl Fink, a researcher for the International Fund for Animal Welfare based in Guelph, Ont, was positively shocked by Putin's decision. The Russian branch of the organization held rallies in cities across Russia last month, but after years of fruitless campaigning, Mr. Putin's support caught them off guard. "It highlights the fact that Canada is still in the Dark Ages on this issue. It's astounding when even the government of Russia is more willing to listen to its own people than ours is," Ms. Fink said.
Yury Trutnyev, the Russian Minister of Natural Resources, announced a ban on the hunting of all harp seals less than one year old. "This bloody hunting is from now on banned in our country, as in most developed countries. This is an important measure to preserve Russia's biodiversity," he said. The Russian ban effectively ends commercial seal hunting in that country, as most of the market for pelts comes from seals less than a year old, reported The National Post. A quota had previously allowed for the harvesting of up to 35,000 seals in the White Sea, near Russia's border with Finland."
"A lack of sea ice in one of the warmest Canadian winters on record and a European boycott have ruined what was to be a banner seal hunt off Canada's Atlantic coast this month. Canada's Fisheries Minister Gail Shea last month increased by 50,000 the allowable catch of harp seals this season to 330,000, in defiance of a ban on seal products by the European Union.
But most of Canada's 6000 sealers stayed home, unable to find buyers for their catch or stymied by a lack of ice floes for the first time in 60 years on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, which usually host hordes of seals birthing pups. "The European boycott was devastating to the industry this year, as was the lack of ice on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence due to an exceptionally warm winter," Jean Richard, Canadian fisheries department conservation chief for the Quebec coastal region, told AFP."