Esau Considers War Against Seals

THERE are about 1,2 million seals along Namibia’s coast – 16% up from 1993 figures – and consisting out of 26 colonies, according to the last survey figures from 2011.

The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernhard Esau, views this as a possible imbalance and is considering “to declare a war” against the seals.

“Two weeks ago when I was traveling to Meob Bay, I witnessed a lot of seals down south. I don’t know whether those are new colonies, but every 500 metres you just see seals. I also don’t know whether we should leave them like that or whether we should interfere. Maybe we should declare war. I don’t know. We have the generals here. We need aice from our generals what to do when there is an imbalance in this respect,” Esau told stakeholders of the fishing industry in Walvis Bay at his annual fisheries address last week.

The last survey measuring the population of seals was conducted in December 2011 for the entire Benguela Current Commission region, which includes Namibia, Angola and South Africa. The survey was co-sponsored by the BCC and the main purpose was to obtain an estimate of the seal population in the region.

The results also showed that the seals are widely distributed along the Namibian coast at around 26 colonies with an expansion of the distribution towards the northern part of Namibia and the southern part of Angola, according to the survey findings.

The next aerial survey is expected to be conducted in December this year, as these surveys are done every third year, in line with the three year rolling Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the seal stock.

“Namibia will implement the scientific recommendations arising from the latest aerial seal survey in setting a TAC for the future sealing seasons,” said Esau. Namibia’s annual controversial seal harvest is from 1 July to 15 November.

While there is a global outcry over what is considered the unjustified cruel culling of seals, emphasised by a international campaign to boycott Namibia’s tourism industry, four new concessionaires were added to participate in the annual seal harvest last year. To add salt to the wounds of the opposition, instead of stopping the cull, another three year rolling TAC (for 2013 to 2015) of 86 000 seals (80 000 being pups) was approved in August last year.

Source : The Namibian