In a news release on Monday evening, FISH-NL called on Ottawa to reopen the harp and hood seal hunt to all harvesters and all fleets in Newfoundland and Labrador by March 25.
The federal government closed the hunt on March 15 to allow time for seal whelping and nursing.
Sealers want to harvest the older seals for their meat and high fat content, but as more times passes, the animals lose their weight, according to the FISH-NL release.
“Word has it that the feds want to wait until after April 10 to reopen the hunt, but that means the sealers — many of whom are fish harvesters — will miss out on precious income, especially with so many fisheries on the downturn,” Cleary said.
Brad Rideout, owner of PhocaLux International Inc., a seal operation in Fleur de Lys with dozens of employees, said his business is looking for up to 5,000 animals immediately after March 25.
“Adult seals will still be in great shape then with the best meat and fat content,” Rideout said.
Seal oil is currently selling for $257 a barrel.
A reopening date was not given when the seal hunt was closed on March 15.