OTTAWA, April 6 (UPI) -- The Canadian Fisheries Department has declared an ice delay for the start of the controversial spring seal hunt.
The hunt will not start at least until Monday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported. It could have begun Saturday.
The quota this year is 270,000 seals. The government cut it by 20 percent after determining that many harp seal pups drowned this year because of thin ice, The Washington Post reported.
Much of the Gulf of St. Lawrence is still blocked by ice, which would have kept many Newfoundland fishing boats from participating.
"If we opened the fishery, and many sealers couldn't get an opportunity to participate, that would have a serious impact on their financial operations over the remainder of the year," said Larry Yetman, a spokesman for the fisheries department.
Fishermen in the Maritime Provinces say they depend on the seals, especially now that the cod fishery has collapsed. But animal rights activists stage annual protests.