Earlier this week, anti-sealing groups distributed a document that seemed to indicate Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan had told the World Trade Organization they would ban harp seal pelts from their countries.
On Friday, St. John’s urged the federal government to push back hard, through the WTO if necessary, but also through direct appeals to the countries’ leaders.
“In the interest of co-operative trade relations, and informed decision making, the governments of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan should consult with Canada and other sealing nations on this serious international trade issue,” Darin King, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, said in a statement.
The reported ban would be similar to that undertaken by the European Union – a measure Ottawa is fighting at the WTO. But losing access to Russia would have greater effect. The strength of its market, which is thought to take most of the seal pelts produced by the controversial harvest off Canada’s eastern shores, was talked up by pro-sealers seeking to dismiss the effect of the EU ban.
In his statement Friday afternoon, Mr. King acknowledged the harm such a ban would cause and called for strong action by the federal government.
Newfoundland calls on Ottawa to fight for sealing industry - The Globe and Mail