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Culture & Livelihood

The hunt is central to indigenous and coastal culture, sharing customs and skills and values passed from generation to generation.

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Seal Harvest (7) - Yoanis Menge Photographe - Canadian Seal Products
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From Coast-to-Coast-to-Coast

Sealing is a vital activity for tens of thousands of rural Canadians throughout the country. There are two seal species that are more frequently harvest in Canada: the Harp Seal in Newfoundland & Labrador and the in Magdalen Islands in Quebec Province and the Ringed Seal in Nunavut, Northern Quebec and Northwest Territories. Due to its growing population in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Gray Seal hunt is developing in Nova Scotia and the Magdalen Islands.  More recently, indigenous communities in British Columbia have revive Harbor Seal harvest due to its predation on salmon species.


Quick Facts

As a local and sustainable food source, it is difficult to pin a dollar value on the seal hunt. Especially in areas like the high north, where food security is an issue, seal meat is vital.


The amount of money worth of meat that one seal can provide to a family.

> 9,700

The number of commercial seal licence holders in Canada. Statistics on the Seal Harvest.  Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.  March 2006.


The landed value of harp seals in 2006, just before the EU ban on seal products.

Indigenous Certification

This Certification allows products harvested by indigenous communities and/or made by indigenous crafters to be marketed and sold on the Proudly Indigenous Crafts & Designs (PIC&D) online store. PIC&D is working with recognized bodies to ensure consumers receive high quality and authentic Indigenous seal products.

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The North

Canadian Inuit and Indigenous communities have a long cultural history with hunting seals, making full use of the animal.  Seals provide vital food and creates cultural, social and economic benefits. The very existence of Inuit in the Arctic is grounded on their relationship with seals. 

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Sealing in Northern Communities

“ In Canada’s north, where store-bought meat is expensive, a single seal can provide the equivalent of $200 or more worth of meat to a family—and a much higher level of nutrition. ”

Vital Activity

At the national level, the economic contribution of sealing is small—yet it represents a significant source of income for over 6,000 individuals and their families for Atlantic Canada coastal communities at a time of year when employment opportunities are extremely limited. In some communities, over 25% of households take part in the hunt, and among those people the hunt can account for 25-35% of their annual income.

Over 25% of households take part in the hunt ENG

The East Coast

While the traditions of sealing on Canada’s east coast has a shorter history – “500 years” – compared with indigenous culture, the early settlers of Newfoundland and the Magdalen Islands did rely on seal, first as a source of meat in a diet with little variety, and then as a source of income, in addition to the cod fishery.

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Abundant Seal Population_Canadian Seal Products

Sustainability & Ecosystem Balance

The annual seal harvest contributes to marine biodiversity protection by supporting the conservation of fish and other marine species.

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Humane & Professional

Canada’s world-leading animal welfare standards, codes of practice, training and licensing programs ensure human harvesting and the highest quality products.

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Many national and international conservation organizations have expressed their support of seal harvesting in Canada.

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