November 25, 2013 6:24 pm

Market for Canada’s seal industry dwindles further as opposition grows in China

File photo: A Harp seal pup lays on an ice floe March 31, 2008 in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence near Charlottetown, Canada.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Growing opposition to Canada’s seal hunt in China may hurt Ottawa’s efforts to market seal products in that country, a non-profit group suggests.

Ever since the European Union banned the importation of seal products in 2009 — a decision that was upheld by the World Trade Organization Monday — Canada has been eyeing China as a buyer.

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Two years ago, Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans said it reached an agreement with China to open up a significant new market for the country’s seal products as more countries banned the imports.

Although heavily promoted by the Tories, the deal was never ratified, according to the World Trade Organization.

READ MORE: Celebrities against the seal hunt 

Seal meat, pelts, oil have been exported to China in the past, however according to the WTO, the Chinese government may be mulling a ban.

Protests in China demanding their government sever ties with Canada’s sealing industry suggest a growing opposition to the imports, according to the Humane Society International.

Earlier this month, Chinese activists protested the Canadian fisheries delegation with a rally at the China International Fisheries and Seafood Expo in Dailian.

Unlike previous years, the protesters noticed Canadian firms weren’t promoting seal products at the expo, according to HSI.

Currently, 34 countries, including Taiwan, Russia and the U.S., ban the seal product trade.

The WTO upheld the EU ban despite admitting it undermined fair trade. The report said concerns over animal welfare justified the ban.


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