Challenges abounded. Two years later, IFAW celebrated the World Trade Organisation (WTO) panel finding that the EU seal trade regulation, which prevents commercially hunted seal products from being sold in the EU, was WTO compliant.
An appeal to that finding was struck down yesterday.
IFAW must remain diligent as other emerging markets in far-flung cultures are developing and the Canadian government is not so easily deterred by bans. The seal hunt continues because of perpetual taxpayer-funded subsidies that prop up the industry: Canada puts far more money into trying to keep the seal hunt alive than it actually brings in).
In line with the changing political and economic landscape, we suspended our huntwatch last year. In the last month, Canadian wildlife campaigns director Sheryl Fink ditched the flotation suit for a business casual version and together with IFAW staff reached out to Newfoundlanders-some of whom were long-time IFAW supporters already, some of whom were not-to better understand their views of the hunt. And IFAW is pursuing a plan, to work with economists to study the economic effects of a sealing license buyout, and ways in which the federal government can better serve rural communities in Atlantic Canada.
We are presently in the midst of formulating a campaign intended to help the province of Newfoundland and Labrador find alternative industries to killing seals that will prosper in this modern age. There is a renewed interest in developing tourism, spurred partly by our focus from the 1980s and partly by the work being done in other programs.
In light of President Obama's announcement of a raft of measures against Iceland over its continued slaughter of whales and trade in their meat and the ICJ ruling against Japan, IFAW is committed to helping Japan, Iceland and Norway find ways to repurpose their whaling industries.
Non-harmful research on live whales is producing valuable data. IFAW encourages Japan to join Australia, Brazil, the US and others in the Southern Ocean Research Partnership, which coordinates scientific research on Southern Ocean whales and their environment using effective, benign techniques.