In my files, I have an internal Canadian government memo.
I pull it out and look at it often.
It recommends phasing out the Canadian Sealing Assistance Program "within two to three years."
I wonder if it will ever happen.
Twenty years on, the seal hunt's dependence on government support continues, with the latest $5.7 million for the sealing industry included as a highlight of last week's budget announcement.
The allowable catch for this year is set at 400,000 harp seals, 60,000 grey seals and 8,200 hooded seals, but it is highly unlikely that the hunt will come anywhere close to this.
Once again, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador has offered loans of $2 million to seal processors. Carino Ltd, a Norwegian-owned company and beneficiary of previous loans, sensibly refused the offer, noting that they still had plenty of pelts remaining in stockpile. PhocaLux International, a newcomer to the seal processing business, will use the loan to purchase some 35,000 skins from its members at about $30 a piece, prices similar to those offered last year.