Arctic Portal logo

The Arctic Gateway

IMport of seal products are banned in the EU (Photo: GettyImages)Greenlanders are counting on Denmark to raise the issue of EU ban on import seal products, due to a burgeoning seal population in the Arctic regions. Denmark has the presidency of the EU which it took over i the beginning of 2012.

Politiken reports that the Greenland Fisheries and Hunters Organisation KNAPK is hoping that the important seal hunting will be lifted so the seal population will continue to grow normally, and fish stocks as well.

“Hunting seal and sealskin production ensures employment throughout Greenland and in particular in the outlying regions. Seal hunting and skin production helps raise living standards and livelihoods for hunters in our country,” KNAPK Chairman Leif Fontaine told Sermitsiaq in Greenland.

Fontaine says that the EU’s ban has wrecked the worldwide trade in indigenous seal products, but equally importantly is threatening both the seal population and fish stocks in the Arctic regions. “We are concerned that the import ban on seal products is harming the eco-systems in our waters,” Fontaine says, adding the increasing population of seals is a ‘ticking bomb’ under the Greenland fishing industry.

"Greenland’s Nature Institute has documented that the 17.5 million seals in the North Atlantic at 16 million tonnes of fish and shellfish each year,” Fontaine says. “At the same time we are seeing emaciated seals across all of the Arctic and are concerned that the seals are dying of hunger,” he adds.

Fontaine notes that Denmark is legally bound to secure the livelihoods of indigenous Greenland hunters.