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Seal Population

Volume 403: debated on Monday 7 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what progress has been made since representations by his Department in February 1999 to the Canadian Government in ensuring that the numbers of seals killed each year does not threaten the sustainability of the species; [107678](2) what assessment he has made of the impact of the annual Canadian slaughter of seal pups on the wild population; whether he has raised this issue with the Canadian authorities; and if he will make a statement. [107681]

No formal representations have been made since February 1999 but the FCO has been monitoring the situation and has made the Canadian Government aware of our concerns. Any seal cull should be sustainable and based on the precautionary approach. The Canadian Government has recently announced their Seal Management Plan for 2003–2005 where quotas have been increased compared to previous years. The plan will be available to the public and government officials will assess the data on which the new quotas are based. After such an assessment has been carried out the FCO will review the situation.