South African MP calls for the reintroduction of seal hunting

ANC MP Meriam Phaliso has called for the restart of the South African fur seal hunt as a way of boosting jobs now that a number of fisheries around the coast has been fished out.

Phaliso, a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said the only thing that needs to be considered is a way to kill the seals and the pups humanely.

Phaliso also said “seals are the biggest poachers of some of the fish and nobody is arresting them… seals are a job-creating mechanism that can put food on the tables in some areas” (arresting seals??).

South Africa ended its annual seal hunt in 1990 after international campaigning. The ban came just before a new 5 year concession was about to come into force which would have allowed an annual hunt of 100,000 pups and some adult bulls.

A factory to process the meat and skins of the pups had already been built in Port Nolloth. Parts of the pups would have made into pet food, leather and traditional medicines such as aphrodisiacs. The 5 year concession had been awarded to a Taiwanese businessman.

Namibia is currently the only country in Africa and the Southern Hemisphere that undertakes an annual seal hunt. Beginning in July the season last November the Namibian hunt targets 80,000 seal pups and 6,000 adult bulls each year. The number of jobs associated with the hunt is relatively small and mainly temporary. 81 people are employed directly on the hunt for 6 months each year and about 100 people are involved in the processing of the seals.

It is unlikely that the proposal by Phaliso would lead to any long-term or stable jobs and those that are created will be probably number no more than 200 temporary direct and indirect jobs each year.

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