OTTAWA, March 30 (UPI) -- A top official in Canada's federal fisheries department defended this year's seal quota against charges the seal herd can't support a harvest at that level.
Critics of the seal hunt say setting the annual harp seal quota at 400,000 animals is excessive, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News reported Friday.
In response, Fisheries and Oceans Canada Director General of Resource Management Morley Knight said this year's quota is only slightly higher than annual quotas for the past decade.
Harp seal population is at an all-time high at about 8 million animals, he said.
Industry experts say the fight over the quota may mean little since falling demand caused by European import bans meant only 10 percent of last year's 400,000-seal quota were killed.