Rahul Sharma

Seal hunting in Namibia

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Seal culling in Namibia is a contentious issue, with animal rights groups opposing the practice as brutal, but the government supporting it and claiming the seal population may damage the fishing industry which is strategic to the Namibian economy. Seal harvesting in Namibia targets 86,000 seal pups and 6,000 adult bulls. This seal harvest takes place in three places namely, Cape Cross, Wolf Bay and Atlas Bay.

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Economic factors

Seals feed upon fish, and some allege that harvesting of seals is necessary lest the fish species be wiped out.

Seal harvesting also has some small employment impact, employing around 81 people seasonally from July to November and about 100 people downstream in the processing plants. However, over half of the species that seals eat are not fish. According to Kirkman 2006, even without seal harvesting 50% of the seal pups born during that harvesting period do not survive.

According to the Fisheries Ministry seal harvesting has attracted direct foreign investment, such as the Hatem Yavuz Group who specializes in seal skins export and skins processing. International scientists have also pointed at possible implants from seal tissue while seal heart valves for human heart surgery show promise.

Criticism

Namibia is the only country in the Southern hemisphere where seal harvesting is still practiced, and has attracted criticism from animal rights groups. The legality of seal harvesting is put to question. Rules and regulations governing seal harvesting are not adhered to and currently the office of the Ombudsman in Namibia is carrying out investigations to that effect.

Critics also note that the profits from seal hunting are small compared to those of other Namibian industries, with seal watching bringing in more than seal harvesting does.

References

Seal hunting in Namibia Wikipedia


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