"We are there to document and record what happens, not to obstruct [the seal hunt], and the Canadian government is well aware of that," she said. "In the 15 years that I've observed the commercial seal hunt at close range I have never once heard of or seen a sealer threatened by an observer in any way, shape, or form. But I have seen countless instances where sealers have attacked observers."
According to Sea Shepherd, Canada will hunt about 325,000 seals this spring, with an additional 10,000 harp seal quota for an aboriginal allowance. Seals are usually valued for their fur and their oil, which is used in health supplements.
Anyone who wants to can currently apply to Fisheries and Oceans Canada for a licence to observe the seal harvest, and seal-watching and eco-tourism is a lucrative market in Canada. Animal advocates say that the bill will punish tourists, wildlife observers, and local residents who wander into the area. In the House of Commons, Kerr admitted that incidents of misusing the observing licence to disrupt the seal hunt have been "few and far between" but says there are "radical groups" that remain a threat.