Marine life

Marine life

  1. Marine Mammal Protection
  2. Protection of Marine Environment
  3. Marine Mammal Harassment
  4. Commercial Seal Hunt
  • CFHS opposes any confinement of animals that causes them physical or mental pain or suffering, or fails to meet their health, behavioural and environmental needs;
  • CFHS believes the capture and confinement of large marine mammals does not meet these needs and accordingly causes them to suffer. CFHS is working to prevent the capture of these animals for exhibition in aquaria and similar public displays;
  • CFHS supports all steps, including the passage of appropriate legislation, which afford greater protection for marine mammals in their natural habitat.
  • CFHS supports and encourages public education about large marine mammals, provided such efforts do not involve removing these animals from, or disturbing them in, their natural environment or family groups.

CFHS supports and encourages efforts, both domestically and internationally, to eliminate the discarding and loss at sea of netting and non-biodegradable materials. CFHS supports and encourages modifications to fishing gear which will reduce the hazard to marine life caused by lost nets.

CFHS recognizes and supports the activity of watching whales, including dolphins and other marine mammals in their natural habitat. Such observation develops understanding and concern for these highly developed creatures.

CFHS also recognizes the potential threat of harassment from excessive or uncontrolled marine mammal watching. Where appropriate, CFHS promotes land based whale watching as an alternative to ocean going tours.

CFHS supports the development of regulations, guidelines, and codes of conduct for the observation of marine mammals, as well as public education on behaviours of these species and their sensitivity to disturbance.

CFHS supports the creation of marine life sanctuaries wherein no activity (such as commercial activity, harvesting, tours, sport fishing, recreational boating) is allowed. Such sanctuaries would provide marine mammals and other aquatic life with places which preclude activities detrimental to such life.

January 1994

CFHS is opposed to the commercial hunting of seals because it is impossible to ensure humane killing due to the methods used and the unstable environment in which the killing is performed.

The current standard methods of killing seals, by hakapik or rifle, have not been proven to consistently result in a quick death with minimal suffering. Videotape observations collected by seal hunt observers indicate that between 7% and 30% (Daoust et al and IFAW, respectively) of attempts to kill seals by shooting and clubbing were not successful in achieving unconsciousness on the first attempt. CFHS considers this to be an unacceptable margin of error. Furthermore, CFHS has concerns regarding the suffering of seals not killed instantly on the first shot by a firearm. Some of the seals that are not killed on the first shot escape into the water and die painfully from their injuries.

The killing of the animals happens on floating ice pans in the ocean which creates a highly mobile and unpredictable environment unlike a slaughter house where the environment can be controlled and monitored. When rifles are shot from moving boats at escaping seals or when the animals are chased across moving ice pans it is unlikely a seal will be stunned effectively with a single blow or shot – a necessary measure of humane slaughter.

Read our position statement on marine life.
Marine life