Today marks the beginning of seal culling season in Namibia. The practice will continue till mid-November, which is when the season ends. While it may seem a gory practice, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine resources says that this is something that needs to be done. According to them, the culling will help to rebuild the dwindling fish stocks.
The Hake fishing industry hauls in around 140,000 metric tons every year, which represents about 12,000 jobs. According to the Ministry, the seal population which numbers in the 700,000 region is a direct threat to this industry. Roughly 10 percent of that population is targeted to be culled within the next two years. The target in numbers is 6,000 bulls and 80,000 pups. Cows are not considered for culling. The seal products that result from the culling are sold locally and to Asian markets. The seal product industry constitutes about two percent of the GDP, while the fishing industry is around six percent.
Bernhard Esau, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, said that reducing the number of seals culled is not an option. He pointed out that a reduction would cause job losses in the fishing industry. However, he was very keen to show the world at large that this was an above board project and that the seals were culled humanely. The pups are clubbed on the head and the bulls are shot. The minister has invited the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Seal Alert to come with him and observe the process when he visits the site on the 13th of July.